LOVING tributes have been paid to the oldest parishioner at St Teresa’s Church in Birkdale, who has passed away aged 91 from the coronavirus.
Great-grandmother Elizabeth Newsome, who was born on October 25, 1928, lived in Birkdale all her life and was a life-long parishioner at St Teresa’s on Everton Road.
The former Archdiocesan President of the Union of Catholic Mothers passed away on April 25. Her family are planning to host a church service for her on or around what would have been her 60th Wedding Anniversary in September – depending on social isolation guidelines.
Her daughter Patricia Withers said: “We believe her to have been the oldest original serving parishioner of St Teresa's Church and her mother and grandmother went there as well before her.
“She was born into the church, married there, all her children were baptised and married there, two of her grandchildren christened there, one of them married there and her first great grandson also christened there!
“Now, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we cannot hold her funeral there, which is so, so sad.
“We believe she was the oldest original parishioner and until moving to her care home in 2018 after falling and breaking her hip, she lived in the parish all of her life.
“Even when in the home, she was picked up and taken to her beloved St Teresa's church and always attended as many parish events as she could.
“Mum lost the sight in her right eye 38 years ago prior to the birth of her first granddaughter but not to be deterred or handicapped in anyway accepted it and just got on with it. With three children whom she mainly brought up herself due to being widowed very young , seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, family was everything to her.
“She served as Archdiocesan President of the Union of Catholic Mothers and her last job before retirement was as the housekeeper to Father Gaine at St Teresa's church, a role she held for many years.
“Then sadly mum started with eye problems again and eventually had to have her left eye removed, making her totally blind. Again , after she recovered, she was not phased in the slightest and still lived alone, shopped with help of shop assistants and was generally very independent.
“Mum had many ‘proud moments’ in her later years. In 2014 she danced with Anton du Beke at Southport Flower Show, which was a dream come true as she loved to ballroom dance, before she assisted him in opening the show. The icing on the cake was attending a Buckingham Palace Garden Party for Blind Veterans in 2015, what a proud proud lady she was that day.
“She was known as Mum, Grandma, Gma, Big Grandma, Grandma Lil and just Lil. She was very, very much loved and she will be very, very much missed by family and everybody who knew her.”