EUNICE Moon admits she did not realise what she was letting herself in for when she applied for a job in a solicitor's office.

The lawyer she went to work for was Cleveland Coroner Michael Sheffield. His first question to her was: "Does death bother you?"

Since 1986 until she retired on Tuesday, Mrs Moon has been clerk to the Teesside's coroners.

Mr Sheffield said in tribute: "The role of coroner's clerk was in its infancy and without precedent and example to follow.

"She found out what was needed and developed the role to the extent she became absolutely essential to the coroner's service.

"She has coped with changes in jurisdiction, changes in the location of the office, changes in coroner's law and practice, a considerable increase in work loads - and taken it in her stride."

Mrs Moon, who lives in Marske, said: "Mr Sheffield is marvellous. He is a proper gentleman and treats all with respect. I have enjoyed my work, though at times it has been stressful. I did not realise how many people I had met, and I will miss it."

She starts a new life when she remarries next month and is expecting to become a grandmother for the first time in January.