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Tributes pour in after 'heart and soul' of Low Hill Noreen Turner MBE dies

By Megan Archer | Bushbury | News | Published:

A housewife who spent most of her adult life tirelessly campaigning for her community has died at the age of 82.

Born and bred in Wolverhampton, mother-of-six Noreen Turner MBE was honoured for her services to the area back in 1993 and awarded an Order of the British Empire.

Described as "the heart and soul" of Low Hill, she was best known for campaigning against the council's modernisation of homes during the 1970s, helping bring about a popular adventure playground, and creating the Secret Garden, a place for younger children.

She was also chairman of both the St Christopher's Park Steering Group and the Tenants Association of Low Hill, and helped organise community seaside trips, sponsored walks and more.

Her youngest daughter Lynne said: "Mom was a person for the people. She always believed in the greater good and she didn't judge anybody. She would always help if she believed in the cause and she was so honest and trusting.

"She was as honest as the day is long."

Noreen Turner MBE

Born on July 27 1935 to Fredrick and Nora Washbrook, Noreen grew up in Lawrence Avenue and attended schools St Faiths Junior and All Fallings Senior. She had one younger brother named Fred.

She met Ron Turner when she was 14 and he was 16, and the pair married five years later at St Mary's Church in Bushbury. They had six children together, Dawn in 1955, Alan in 1957, Barry in 1959, Sandra in 1963, Diane in 1969 and Lynne in 1970 - all of whom still live locally.

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Daughter Lynne said her mom had a few different jobs during her life, including as a nursery nurse, at a care home and at a chip shop before she became a passionate campaigner for Low Hill.

She said: "It first began when the council were doing improvements on houses in Low Hill - they wanted to knock the wall down between peoples living rooms and kitchens. Mom became the campaigner against that. She was like 'how am I going to keep my children safe while that's going on?'

"She was just a normal housewife who didn't really know anything about that sort of thing but then she took on the council and won."

Noreen Turner MBE

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And Noreen kept going from there, becoming actively involved in the childrens adventure playground and helping to run it throughout holidays, weekends and evenings. She also set up Peach Tree in the early 1990s, an eco-friendly building with a grass roof - a unique and unusual idea at the time.

In 2012, her husband Ron suddenly and unexpectedly died during an operation to remove an aneurysm, and Lynne said her mother never really got over his death and always just wanted to be with him.

She died peacefully on January 24 2018 after a battle with cancer and leaves behind her six children, 18 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

Tributes have been paid to the great-grandmother on a Facebook page titled "Noreen Turner MBE Memories".

Donna Clubb wrote: "Beautiful lady inside and out. She simply was the heart and soul of Low Hill."

Granddaughter Jess Daffern added: "Everyone knew Noreen put Low Hill on the map, as her family we may be biased but we feel Noreen was a huge ambassador for the community.

"Noreen was the most inspirational woman, strong minded and never afraid to say what she believed in, whether liked or not she was always respected."

Noreen's funeral will take place at 1.30pm on Monday, February 19 at United Reformed Church in Old Fallings Lane. All who knew her are welcome to attend.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Deputy Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Deputy Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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