Lisa was a loving mam, sister, daughter and doting grandmother to her four grandchildren who were her life. She was also a fantastic loyal friend and a beautiful person inside and out, who always put everyone else first. She did everything to make things easy for her family, nothing was too much trouble. She brought love and laughter into the life of everyone who was lucky enough to come into contact with her.
Her warmth, kindness and sense of fun lit up the world, from Benwell to Whickham, Tenerife to Tunisia. She loved her holidays and had been to Tunisia nine times with six to the same hotel where she lost her life.
These last 12 months have been incredibly difficult for us. We find it hard to put into words how we feel and how much we miss her. We were such an incredibly close family seeing each other every day, her death has left a gaping hole in our lives that we will never be able to fill.
There is no ‘old normal’ now, just a new normal. It’s something we will never get over, but we have to learn to live with it as best as we can and try to get on with our lives as it’s what she would have wanted.
On Sunday, June 26, 2016 we will be holding a remembrance and memorial service for Lisa and the other 37 victims of the Tunisian beach terror attack. The service will be held at St Mary the Virgin Church, Whickham, at 10:30am, followed by the unveiling of a remarkable memorial bench made by Rodger Silk and John Bricklebank from Houghton’s of York with help from Dr Phil Hackney from Northumbria University and some of his students, for which we are extremely grateful.
In the days after the atrocity, the community of Whickham and Gateshead rallied around our family, providing support and assistance. A Gofund trust was kindly set up by a family friend Joanne Hamilton and £3800 was raised through donations as the generosity of people shone like a beacon in the dark. This has contributed immensely to the beautiful memorial bench.
We would also thank everyone who paid their respects by laying flowers on the church green immediately after the beach attack with special thanks to the members of Planting Up Whickham and Joan Williamson . Lisa adored Whickham, spending more than 40 years of her life there, and the bench is not just a tribute to her but also a thank you to the community where she lived and loved.
Any donations at the service will be split between Smile for Joel – a victim support charity set up by the family of Joel Richards, who aged just 19 was the youngest victim, also losing his grandfather and uncle in the attack – and Planting Up Whickham to continue the great work around the church green.
There will also be 38 white roses laid on Sunday and 38 balloons released as we remember not only Lisa, but the other victims in Tunisia a year ago.
We would like to invite anyone whose lives have been touched by Lisa’s incredible spirit or the heartbreaking circumstances of her untimely death to come to the service. Afterwards, there will be tea and coffee served at The Harry Clasper pub.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank Victim Support and the Northumbria police family liaison officers for their work with our family and the support we have received over the last 12 months, which has giving us the strength and guidance to get to this point.
We also ask that we remember Lisa’s friends Jenn McDine, Margaret Crowe, and sister-in- law Margaret Banham who were with her on holiday in Tunisia.
The family will continue to grieve for Lisa. It will be a never-ending process but we are comforted by the knowledge that she is now reunited with her husband Bill, who also died on the 26th June, 10 years earlier, who was her rock.