THE funeral of a woman who helped kickstart the career of journalists is due to take place on Tuesday.

Patricia Wilford died peacefully in her sleep on Monday, February 19.

The 94-year-old was a well-known figure in the town through her work with St Teresa’s Hospice and Darlington Association on Disability after she retired from her distinguished career in teaching.

Christine Scott described her mother as an ‘inspirational’ woman who had an impact on so many people’s lives.

Mrs Wilford was a journalism lecturer at Darlington College of Technology up until she retired in the mid-eighties.

Ms Scott said: "She loved teaching at the college and helped so many journalists get started in their careers – she was so proud of them.

"Once she retired she was able to enjoy her golf and gardening – when she was the ladies captain at Blackwell Golf Club she managed to secure a victory over the men's team."

Her mother was born in Lifford, near the border between Northern and Southern Ireland in 1923.

And excelling in her studies she secured a scholarship and eventually graduated from Trinity College in Dublin with a distinguished degree in English and Psychology.

After moving to London she started working as an executive officer in the Colonial Service and was later stationed in West Africa where she met her husband to be – Basil.

Ms Scott said: "My mother met my father in the bank where he worked when she went in to sort out her finances – he always joked that ever since that day he had never stopped looking after her."

Mrs Wilford settled in Maiduguri, in North East Nigeria, with her husband and it was while living there that she gave birth to Christine.

Once she returned to England the family settled in Darlington where Christine's brother David was born. Sadly, he died when he was just 34.

Ms Scott added: "We are a really close family – my daughter Maria and her son Thomas, have been a great support through the last few weeks. My mother was a wonderful woman who achieved so much during her life and will be well remembered by everyone who knew her."

  • Mrs Wilford's funeral takes place at Holy Trinity Church, Woodland Road, Darlington, on Tuesday, March 6 at 12.30pm. All welcome.