Oxfam stalwart ‘remarkable’ Edna dies aged 95

Edna Cowperthwaite
Edna Cowperthwaite
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Tributes have been paid to a charity champion and community stalwart who died at the grand old age of 95.

Mrs Edna Cowperthwaite, who dedicated 30 years of service to the Clitheroe Oxfam shop, died at Royal Blackburn Hospital with her family beside her.

As well as her volunteering, she was a life-long member of Trinity Methodist Church and in her younger years taught at the Sunday school.

She joined the church choir at the age of 13 and remained a member for 80 years. She was a Methodist lay preacher for 50 years and well known and respected on the Clitheroe circuit.

Born and brought up in Clitheroe, she attended the National School and then to Clitheroe Royal Grammar School. On leaving school, she worked as a telephonist at Blackburn Telephone Exchange until she married William Thomas, also of Clitheroe.

The couple had two daughters – Jean Davies and Helen Coles – and eventually made their home in Grafton Street.

At the age of 40, Mrs Cowperthwaite went to work as the deputy manager at the Clitheroe Co-operative Society store in Moor Lane. She retired aged 60, but just a few days later started voluntary work at the town’s Oxfam shop. Her volunteering continued until she was aged 90.

Lisa Barker, manager of the Oxfam shop, paid tribute to a “remarkable woman”.

“She was an absolutely lovely lady and totally committed to helping at this charity shop. She volunteered every Friday morning and always turned up whatever the weather,” said Lisa.

“She was well-respected and well-liked. Everyone knew her and thought highly of her. She will be sorely missed by everyone who had the pleasure to know her.”

In 1994, William passed away, but Mrs Cowperthwaite continued with her charity work. She was also treasurer of a local organisation for people suffering with arthritis.

Mrs Cowperthwaite’s other hobbies included crown green bowling.

Paying tribute to a “wonderful mother”, Jean and Helen said: “She was a modest, down-to-earth and family-orientated woman who would go out of her way to help others.

“A few years ago she knitted almost 500 jumpers (496 to be precise) for poor people living in Third World countries, but she didn’t make a fuss and quietly donated the jumpers.

“She was a very kind and caring lady and was extremely popular with her four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. In fact, the whole family loved her dearly. .

“She didn’t talk a lot, but she never said anything that wouldn’t be worth saying.”

A Service of Thanksgiving was held at Trinity Methodist Church, Clitheroe, last Thursday.