A family had donated more than £750 to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) in memory of a well-loved fundraiser, John Paterson.
His daughter, Sally Paterson, writes a guest blog:
The passing of local fundraiser, John Paterson, from Whickham, has not only come as a terrible shock to his family and friends, but a crushing blow to all of the charities for whom he raised money over the years. John, passed away from pneumonia on 23rd December 2015 at Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, only six days before his 67th birthday.
Throughout the years, John raised staggering amounts for a number of charities, including Cancer Research, The Northern Gynaecological Oncology Centre, The Children’s Cancer Fund (RVI) and The Miracle Fund (Queen Elizabeth Hospital).
John dedicated a large part of his life to raising money for causes close to his heart, including one event, named “The Two Carols”, in memory of the wives of two of his friends from Allerdene Social Club, whom both tragically died of cancer in 2011. A total of £1,665.20 was donated to The Northern Gynaecological Oncology Centre at Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
John’s fundraising usually took place in the form of entertainment showcases, some featuring Joe McElderry and Cheryl Tweedy, before they hit the big time.
A file of “thank you” letters was found in John’s belongings, with one from The Children’s Cancer Fund, dated 2002, thanking him for raising over £42,000 between 1991 and 2002. John’s family are immensely proud of him for his achievements and as a way of honouring this, they managed to raise £766.56 for the Great North Air Ambulance, between his funeral and a Celebration of Life event.
John’s son Graeme and daughter Sally organised the event at the Thomas Wilson Social Club, instead of holding a traditional wake. Graeme said: “My dad enjoyed many pastimes, but some of his happiest memories are from when he had the pleasure of visiting the pubs and clubs of the North East to watch his favourite singers and entertainers, all of whom he loved dearly, regarded as true friends, and who he genuinely thought of as family”. The Celebration of Life was a fitting tribute that gave family and friends the opportunity to share warm memories of him.
The turnout for John’s funeral was amazing, with lines of people standing. Daughter Sally said: “It was heartwarming to see how many people turned out to show their respects, and the Celebration of Life was exactly the sort of event that my dad would have loved. There were many tears, but also some humour and lots of money raised – just as my dad would have wanted. We are missing him so much”. Family and friends also enjoyed looking at four large photo montages of John throughout his life, kindly made by friend George Pattison of Sign Sign Signs in Swalwell.
He was a loving brother to Sylvia and Maureen, dad to Graeme and Sally, uncle to Ian, Gary, Toni and Barry, as well as being a great uncle to Caitlin. A few weeks before his death, he was overjoyed to meet baby Leyton, the son of Gary and his partner Lizzie, who made his appearance the night of the last family meal out together. John was overjoyed and Leyton will grow up to hear tales of his great uncle John.
Written in memory of John Paterson (29/12/1948 – 23/12/2015).
Pictured: John Paterson
Pictured: Caitlin and Leyton