TRIBUTES have been paid to a woman who worked at The Northern Echo for a number of years.

Jan Brown, who was known as Jan Mazurk when she lived in the North-East, died on August 12, aged 72.

Jan was born in Belfast in February 1948, she had two sisters who died when they were young. Jan attended school in Belfast then left at the age of 16 to join the RAF.

Jan was a PT instructor in the RAF and got to travel the world – her favourite place was Singapore, where she met her first husband, RAF pilot John Mazurk. The couple have a daughter, Alex.

The couple lived in Lincolnshire and in North Yorkshire, then when they separated Jan moved to Darlington and was working at The Northern Echo.

After her time with the newspaper, Jan became manager of Broadacres Housing Association, then returned to the Echo. She also worked in the café at M&S in Darlington and her last job was as a foster carer.

While she lived in Darlington she was a staunch campaigner and a member of the Neasham Road Action Group, which fought against the plans for a stadium on the edge of town.

Jan met her second husband Ivor Brown in 2010. Mr Brown recalled their first encounter: “I have a caravan and I was staying for a few days on a campsite in Norfolk. Jan had been to the supermarket, bought a tent and decided to go on a camping trip with her dog. It was a toss-up between Wales and Norfolk and she ended up in Norfolk.

The Northern Echo:

Jan and Ivor on their wedding day in 2015

“The first campsite she went to was fully booked, so she turned up on the one I was on with my sons. We watched trying to sort the her tent. She kept looking at the tent, then looking at the instructions, then back at the tent and in the end my lads went to help her.

“She and I got talking. We went for walks with the dogs and got on really well.”

Ivor went back to his home in Leicestershire and Jan returned to Darlington, but their friendship grew and the rest, as Ivor said, is history.

Jan moved to Ivor’s home town of Shepshed in Leicestershire in 2012 and the couple were married in 2015.

They bought a motorhome and travelled extensively across Europe. They also shared a love of dogs and Jan was a big Zumba fan.

Ivor said: “Jan loved going away on holiday. We were members of a motorhome club and went to lots of rallies and events.

“Jan would always be helping out, making teas, organising a raffle, she was a very generous person.”

Jan was diagnosed with cancer in March this year and spent 91 days in hospital and for many of those she was not able to see husband Ivor because of the coronavirus restrictions.

Ivor said: “It was very hard for both of us. We went for weeks without seeing each other, but I was able to spend some time with her in her last days.

“I do have many happy memories of Jan. She was full of fun, she got her own way wit things – when she moved in with me I was banished from the kitchen.

“She did a lot for charity and ran the Great North Run when she was 50. She raised a lot of money for Multiple Sclerosis charities.

“She made friends with everyone and she is going to be missed a lot.

A funeral service for Jan is being held at Loughbrough Crematorium on Friday, August 28