'Kind and selfless' grandma who founded youth centre dies aged 80

Catherine Patricia Stammers, known as Patsy, from Stowmarket, has died at the age of 80. 

Catherine Patricia Stammers, known as Patsy, from Stowmarket, has died at the age of 80. - Credit: Stammers family

A "kind and selfless" grandma who devoted her life to helping young people get back on the straight and narrow in Stowmarket has died with dementia.

Catherine Patricia Stammers, 80, known by many as Patsy and praised for her work within the town's youth clubs, died at West Suffolk Hospital on Monday, February 15.

Patsy Stammers has sadly died at the age of 80 with dementia.

Patsy Stammers has sadly died at the age of 80 with dementia. - Credit: Stammers family

Mrs Stammers was awarded the title of Suffolk Woman of the Year for outstanding service to the community in 2005, and tributes have been pouring in for the mum-of-three who was described as having "a huge and positive impact on so many people's lives".

Her eldest son Melvyn Stammers, aged 60, said his mother was known for setting up the youth club in Childer Road and dedicated her time to helping the town's young people.

"She was the most caring, thoughtful and kind person you could ever meet, and she was completely selfless," said Mr Stammers.

"She had a terrific sense of humour and she loved a good laugh, but she never touched a sip of alcohol in her life and didn't smoke.

"Her life was very family orientated and centred around her three children and her work with the youth clubs."

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He said she was a "fantastic mum" and a devoted grandma and great grandma, always being there to help her family at the end of a phone call.

She was born in Tralee, the county town of County Kerry in the south-west of Ireland and was the eldest of four children - leaving behind her younger brother Jeremiah Quirke and their two younger sisters Sally Winter and Maureen Free.

Siblings Sally Winter, Maureen Free, Patsy Stammers and Jeremiah Quirke.

Siblings Sally Winter, Maureen Free, Patsy Stammers and Jeremiah Quirke. - Credit: Stammers family

When Mrs Stammers was just five years old, the family moved to Stowmarket and lived in Cherry Tree Road.

She attended Stowmarket Secondary Modern School and when she left as a young teenager, she worked at Combs Ford Newsagents, where she met her husband David Stammers aged 19, who she later spent 17 years caring for due to illness.

In her 20s, one of her main passions - and something which later became a family affair - was playing football for Stowmarket Ladies with her two sisters, managed by their uncle.

Mr Stammers fondly remembers watching his mum, who played centre half, playing a number of matches alongside her sisters, including one against Manchester United Ladies.

Patsy Stammers was described as being "kind and selfless" by her eldest son Melvyn Stammers. 

Patsy Stammers was described as being "kind and selfless" by her eldest son Melvyn Stammers. - Credit: Stammers family

They were even involved in a game against Ipswich Town Ladies in the 1960s, which descended into a fight and had to be abandoned.

Mr Stammers said the story hit the national news and was rearranged for a week later - with in excess of 10,000 people turning up to watch in anticipation of more drama.

She also represented Suffolk at athletics.

Outside of football, Mrs Stammers was most widely known for her work helping young people.

She ran the Stowmarket Youth Centre in Childer Road, set up the young crime stoppers, was a founding member of the Lavenham Park Association, and had child protection officer roles with Stowmarket Concert Band and Simply Brass.

Patsy Stammers pictured with her six grandchildren. 

Patsy Stammers pictured with her six grandchildren. - Credit: Stammers family

She was also the first ever parent governor of Combs Middle School and received the High Sheriff award in 2006.

Mr Stammers said she was surprised to receive the recognition, but said he felt they were "fully merited".

He added: "She loved going into town and having a chinwag with people as she was a big talker.

"No-one had a bad word to say about mum. We will all really miss her."

Mrs Stammers was diagnosed with dementia a couple of years ago and died in hospital back in February, having survived a brush with Covid in hospital.

Her funeral, which will be family only, is due to be held on Friday, March 26.

Her funeral cortege will be driven through the centre of Stowmarket at 1.50pm that day for anyone who wants to pay their respects.

Donations in memory of Patsy for Alzheimer’s Society may be sent c/o Meredith Greengrass Funeral Services 15 Ipswich Street Stowmarket IP14 1AH or at catherinestammers.muchloved.com

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