TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘caring, gentle lady’ after her passing.

Jean Stephenson was born February 19, 1932, the youngest of six children. The family home was home to three generations of Stephensons.

Jean met local farmer Donald Armstrong in the 60s, enjoying a happy relationship. They soon became engaged and he gave her his mother’s emerald ring. Donald, sadly, passed away after a heart attack.

Jean had always shared a close relationship with brother Mark, 12-years her senior, who worked as a butcher, while she worked as a payroll accounts assistant at Moats Builders Merchants for 23-years.

But Mark had always dreamed of owning his own business and the siblings went on to set up shop and home at West Road, Halfway, in Prudhoe, in 1970.

They ran the popular butchers and grocers until the 1990’s, working hard but making long-standing friendships - and always joined by their sheepdog Bobby.

When Mark, sadly, died in 1998, Jean moved to a bungalow on Moorlands, where she lived happily with her sheep dog Floss.

She had always remarked how lucky she was to have such wonderful neighbours in Dolly and Brian Shave, Neil and Una Coulson, Ian Bloomer and Linda and felt at home in the town.

Jean was cared for by friends in her latter years at home until 2016, when Burn Brae Care were asked to assist - many of her carers would remember her from her time at the shop.

After a fall in 2019 and a short stay in hospital, Jean moved to Elmbank House, in Hexham, until her death.

She settled well and made a special friend in Margaret, who she was filmed singing the Blaydon Races with.

Throughout her life, Jean enjoyed holidaying at her caravan in Stanhope, which remained her second home until 2018, as well as coach trips and long-haul holidays.

She would often invite her many friends to join her for happy days in her retirement, with Jean’s great nieces Louise, Lisa and Karen all left with fond memories of their adventures.

At home, Jean enjoyed cooking, baking and entertaining. She thrived in the company of others - often it was difficult to reach her as she spent hours chatting on the phone and her kettle was always on the boil! She was also a serious shopper, spending hours with friend Jacqui, and was a keen Newcastle United supporter.

But Jean was also very charitable and generous with her time to good causes, supporting the RNLI and serving as a long-standing member of the Prudhoe Ladies Branch of the Royal British Legion, where she had a spell as treasurer, and Prudhoe Town Fair.

Jean's famous motto was "I mustn't grumble."