The wife of a North East footballing legend is now “living a life full of colour” after successfully undergoing eye surgery.

Jennifer Hardwick, 85, from Yarm, wife of former England and Middlesbrough captain George Hardwick, said she noticed something was not quite right after her coloured washing appeared faded.

Following an appointment with the optometrist, Mrs Hardwick was diagnosed with cataracts – a condition which sees the lens of your eye develop cloudy patches impeding vision.

She was advised to seek surgery to correct the issue on both eyes, specifically her right which had been badly affected.

The Northern Echo: Jennifer Hardwick Credit: ARCHIVE

She added the treatment has lightened up her life despite her initial reluctance to go undergo the procedure.

She said: “I thought there was a problem with my washing machine,”

“I’d wash my jumpers, but when I took them out of the machine they appeared to be quite faded. Same with the carpets; the colours seemed very dull.”

“When I arrived, the staff carefully explained what was going to happen. I was nervous and very frightened, but everyone was fantastic.

“The surgeon comforted me, explaining what was happening and telling me that I was doing great throughout.”

“The aftercare was also straightforward.”

The former air stewardess met her late husband George Hardwick, who died in 2004, on a flight to Las Vegas.

'Gentleman George', as he was affectionately known, was one of the greatest players to ever pull on a Boro shirt. A nine feet tall statue of the former Boro defender and England captain now stands opposite a statue of the late Wilf Mannion, his former Middlesbrough, England and Great Britain team mate, outside Boro's Riverside Stadium.

The Northern Echo: Boro legend George Hardwick, then aged 80, stands next to his wife Jennifer in front of a statue of himself unvelied at the Riverside Stadium in 200Boro legend George Hardwick, then aged 80, stands next to his wife Jennifer in front of a statue of himself unvelied at the Riverside Stadium in 200 (Image: NORTH NEWS)

Mrs Hardwick set up a foundation in his name following his death in 2004, dedicated to helping carers of ill, frail and disabled people.

She is an avid traveller and following the surgery, is looking forward to having more adventures with her new partner, dog, and friends.

In England NHS patients can choose which provider they have cataract surgery with. Mrs Hardwick opted for treatment at SpaMedica.

She said: “A friend recommended SpaMedica and, following some additional research, I decided to have the procedure at their hospital in Stockton-On-Tees. I couldn’t be happier with my choice!”

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“It is the best thing I have ever had done and has made an immense difference to my quality of life. I’m now living life in full colour. I honestly didn’t realise what I was missing.”

Amanda James, hospital manager at SpaMedica Stockton-on-Tees, which has been graded as ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), said: “We received a lovely thank you card from Jennifer following her surgery.

“The team work hard to deliver high quality outcomes and support patients to achieve better vision, so it’s always wonderful to learn just how big an impact cataract surgery can have on someone’s quality of life.”