#babysister | #nanny | The faces, stories and tributes to special Lancashire people lost in June

Throughout June, heartfelt tributes have flooded in to loved ones who have been lost over the past few months.

Today, LancsLive is remembering those who have left a huge whole in the lives of those close to them.

Below are tributes paid last month to those who have lost their lives from family members, close friends or members of their communities:

Stacey Gibbie

Stacey Gibbie

The mum-of-two was just 48 when she died of breast cancer, leaving behind her two daughters, one of whom is severely disabled.

Stacey Gibbie, from Preesall, has been described by her family as a kind and devoted person who dedicated her life to her two daughters, 18-year-old Tyler and Ruby, aged 14.

Se gave up on her career in photography to care for her eldest daughter, who was diagnosed with myclonic epilepsy and severe development delay, when she was just one.

Stacey’s niece, Chelsea Thompson, 32, from Lytham, says her late aunt was a kind woman who would always put the needs of others before her own.

Karen Pye

Karen Pye, and a picture from Jim’s 21st birthday

The mum-of-three died on May 26 after taking her own life, having spent four day in hospital on life support.

Karen, from Accrington, is described as being loving and selfless, a woman who would look after others before herself.

Her husband, Jim Pye, told LancsLive that her death came out of the blue, and he and his children are fundraising for the mental health charity MIND in Karen’s memory and want people to know that they are never alone.

Doris Howarth (Alka)

Doirs Howarth, known as Alka, was an inspiration of generations of Girl Guides.

Doris Howarth, known as Alka, passed away in early June following a long illness.

Alka served as a Girl Guide leader in Accrington for more than three decades, inspiring hundreds of girls in the East Lancashire area.

Michelle Goldsmith, 61, was one of the first Girl Guides to see Alka in action, and her influence has never left her.

“I’ve known Alka since I was 12,” Michelle told LancsLive.

“She was full of life, she was a larger then life character. I can always remember her being full of energy and vitality.

“She had an enthusiasm and lust for life that was infectious.”

Christopher Lees

A picture of Christoper Lees issued by police

Christopher Lees, 53, of Wrea Green, was riding along Garstang Road at Pilling when for an unknown reason he left the road and came to rest partially in a hedge at the side of the road.

He was discovered by passing cyclists and motorists but despite efforts to provide CPR by members of the public he died.

In a tribute Mr Lees’ family said: “He selflessly gave his time to numerous local enterprises. He was highly respected by all the friends he made through his many interests, including golf, skiing, and cricket; all of course finished off with a decent pint at his local in Wrea Green.”


Jason Da Costa

Jason Da Costa was just 50 when he passed died of a sudden heart attack.

Jason Da Costa was just 50 when he died of a sudden heart attack in Blackpool on May 29, leaving behind his wife Samantha and six children.

He worked as the Chief Information Officer at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals, a role based in Blackpool.

Jason was a family man, looking after his six children and new wife, Samantha.

“They only got married a year ago,” David Smith, another of Jason’s friends, told LancsLive.

“From a family perspective they must have thought that they had a long future ahead of them together.

“Sam was the love of his life, they were madly in love.

“Everything was bright and rosy. He had just finished building his family house and for him to be taken so quickly and suddenly, its just heartbreaking.”

Paul Philip Hardcastle

Dad-of-six Paul Philip Hardcastle, 55, died on Saturday, May 30, following a motorbike accident near Lancaster.

The Blackpool Transport worker was known to many as ‘SPUD’ and enjoyed being out on his bike with his friends.

His family, said: “Paul was a loving father of six children and loving grandfather.

“He leaves behind a loving father, sister and brother, six children and seven grandchildren and many other family members.”

Kyle Hempenstall

Kyle Hempenstall

Dad Kyle Hempenstall, 28, was riding a motorbike on the stretch of the M62 when he was involved in a collision.

Kyle’s sister Kiera Allen said: “We can’t believe we are writing this for our brother.

“You were young, healthy, happy – and a nice, caring, respectful and loving son, dad, brother, uncle and friend.

“This should not have happened to you and things will never be the same.

“You have left us far too soon and we are completely broken along with mum, dad, your nephews and everyone else who knew you.

“Sleep tight handsome until we meet again, we love you and will never forget you bro.”

Frank Bennett

Frank Bennett as headteacher of Woodhey High School
Frank Bennett as headteacher of Woodhey High School

Father-of-three Frank Bennett was the former headteacher of Woodhey High School in Ramsbottom.

The popular Bury headteacher died on May 28, aged 82, following a prolonged illness.

Mr Bennett’s wife Kay, who is also mother to their three children, led the tributes to him, the MEN reports.

She said: “He was a true family man, full of life and very caring to everyone.

“He was really intellectual but also had another side to him which was very loving, down-to-earth and supportive. He could be quite mischievous as well!

“Teaching was everything to him but he also loved singing and his music. He was also interested in cars, trains, fishing, rugby, football, all sorts really.

“He’s my husband so really I shouldn’t be bragging but he was a wonderful man, he really was.”

Zoie Armer

Zoe Armer was just 36 when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Zoie Armer died on May 6 this year after suffering from both Parkinson’s and Lewes Body Dementia (LBD) which can manifest in delusions and hallucinations.

Zoie, who was from Chorley, was just 46 when she passed away.

Niece Mia Armer said: “Zoie has been described as a caring and loving woman who adored being an auntie but never had any children of her own.

She was an ever present in Mia’s life and always knew how to make her laugh.

“She would have made an amazing mother,” said Mia.

“She was so thoughtful and kind, if you were upset she wouldn’t stop trying to make you smile until you were in stitches laughing.

“She loved her family and friends more than anything and looked after all of us throughout the years.

“She loved baking cakes as well as arts and crafts, her bedroom was full of things she had up cycled and made beautiful again. She used to make the best sentimental handmade craft gifts.”

Keith Chew Jnr.

Keith Chew Jnr died in a boating accident off the Fleetwood coast

Keith Chew Junior, who was born in Blackburn but lived in Accrington all his life with father, Keith Chew Senior, was sailing with his dad and a friend off the coast of Fleetwood on May 21 when the boat began taking on water.

His sister, Kelly Chew 38, says the boat sank quickly, and while Keith Snr and his friend were rescued it is believed Keith Jnr had his foot caught on something.

Kelly paid tribute to her brother, saying: “Everyone knows him. He had learning disabilities so he was like a child sometimes.

“My dad was his main carer and Keith Jnr was a big softie – he was a gentle giant. Anything he could do to help anyone, he would.

“He was so well-loved. All the stuff I am reading online.

“Everyone knew him, and everyone is going to miss him.

“I am only two years younger than him – we were like chalk and cheese growing up.”

Mandy Houghton

Mandy Houghton

Mandy Houghton, 58, was found unresponsive with head injuries on Victory Close and was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

A 72-year-old man from Nelson has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in custody.

Ms Houghton’s family said: “Mandy was a much-loved Mum, sister and grandma. She was a happy soul that wouldn’t hurt a fly. She has been taken from us too soon and is going to be deeply missed.”

Cali Smith

Callie Smith

Cali Smith, 19, was found dead in an area off the Kirklees Trail, near to Brandle Avenue, in the early hours of June 10.

Sister Ashleigh Smith said: “R.I.P to my gorgeous baby sister… Now you can be at peace with no pain…

“I love you more than ever Callie. I will always think about you every second of the day!! You was sooo beautiful but, now like I said you can finally be happy and be at peace without the stupid demons.

“I love you more than you ever knew… My little Barbie twinny. I’m gonna miss you Callie.”

Gill Sillitoe

Gill Sillitoe

Gill Sillitoe, a mum-of-three, was assistant headteacher at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School on Grantham Road in Birkdale, who died after a short battle with cancer on June 7.

She has been remembered as someone to have inspired many children to read through her love of the popular book series, Harry Potter.

A statement released by the school said: “It is with great sadness that we are informing you that Mrs Sillitoe, our beloved assistant headteacher, sadly passed away on Sunday.

“Mrs Sillitoe was a much loved teacher, colleague and friend and will be sadly missed by all who knew her at Our Lady of Lourdes.

“She was dedicated and professional, always ready with a joke and a smile

“Her love of Harry Potter inspired many children in their reading.”

Danny Wise

Danny Wise

Dad-of-one, Danny Wise , 32, died after being stabbed in Fleetwood, and was held by his friends as he slipped away.

In a tribute, his family said: “It is with our hearts breaking that I write this tribute to my loving son Danny Wise. Special, brother, uncle and father too! You had so much life left to live, so many good qualities to share with us all. I can’t begin to put into words the impact your leaving us has had on so many!

“Our family is broken, but your passing has brought us closer together. You will be forever in our hearts my beautiful boy and you will live on through your amazing little boy Harry Marshall Wise, who we will ensure knows his Daddy like you were never taken from him!

“I would like to thank the staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and the paramedics who worked so hard to save this precious life, and took care of us all in our time of need. Also, his work colleagues who were there for him and did all they could for my boy.

“To his best friends who held him close as he slipped away, I know how you are hurting now but I thank you from the bottom of my heart, it’s a great comfort to us all that you were there to hold him.”




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