A POIGNANT and fond farewell was paid by the community to stalwart Kathleen Hudson who passed away suddenly aged 82 on January 11 after a short illness.
Kathleen (nee Wood) was born in Greenfield on July 13, 1938 and was the much-loved wife of Saddleworth Parish and Oldham Borough councillor John Hudson, with both dedicating their lives to serving the area and good causes.
Her funeral was held on February 1 but due to the Covid-19 pandemic only a limited number of people were able to attend the service at St Mary’s Church, Greenfield.
Instead, friends stood, in a socially distanced manner, outside the Civic Hall in Uppermill, where the couple enjoyed numerous social and charity events, to pay their respects as the hearse paused outside.
Then the procession continued to St Mary’s Church, with locals taking to the pavements and their doorsteps along the route as well as outside the church to say their final goodbyes.
The service – a celebration of Kathleen’s life – was conducted by The Reverend Barbara Christopher.
Along with hymns, prayers, bible readings and a eulogy of Kathleen’s life there were tributes from the couple’s daughters Claire and Deborah and a poem read by son-in-law Andrew.
The service was followed by a committal at Oldham Crematorium.
Kathleen and John, who lived in Greenfield, were married in 1960. They celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary in 2020 with 100 friends at Uppermill Civic Hall, and their 61st anniversary this January.
John, 81, has served as a Saddleworth Parish councillor for more than four decades and also a borough councillor, always with Kathleen by his side.
Kathleen was the Saddleworth Parish Council’s Chairman’s Lady four times and also the Lady Mayoress of Oldham in 2013/14.
During Cllr Hudson’s spells as chairman of the Parish Council, Kathleen led the charity committee, raising £59,500 for a variety of good causes.
And as Mayor and Mayoress they put in a staggering amount of energy and time into hosting visits and attending engagements, raising £50,468 for local charities and good causes.
Cllr Pam Byrne, a long-time friend of the couple, said: “Kathleen’s death is a great shock to so many of us.
“Kathleen was not only John’s wife, partner but his reflection. No one was prouder than Kathleen when John was awarded his OBE and the visit to Buckingham Palace for the presentation by the Queen was a highlight which she enjoyed so much.
“As Chairman’s Lady, she led the charity committee but always served on this committee whoever was Chairman and helped to raised thousands of pounds.
“She again led the Mayor’s fundraising committee when John was Mayor, raising together a record amount for charity.”
Cllr Jamie Curley, former Chairman of Saddleworth Parish Council, added: “We are still in shock following the passing of our dear friend Kathleen.
“She will be missed greatly by so many people in Saddleworth whose lives she touched.
“She was a huge figure within the Chairman’s Charity Committee and was part of a huge fundraising effort every year to raise money for local charities and was generous with her time, effort and spirit.
“Kathleen’s sudden departure from all the lives she touched will leave a great sadness but many happy memories of a dear friend and lovely lady will remain.”
Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Ginny Alexander, said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of Kathleen’s passing.
“Kathleen radiated warmth and kindness. She was truly devoted to the people of Oldham and has, along with John, raised extraordinary amounts for charity throughout their years of service to the borough.”
Kathleen leaves behind husband John, daughters Claire and Deborah, son-in-laws Andrew and Greg, and granddaughter Courtney.
- Donations can be made, if desired, to Saddleworth Parish Council Chairman’s Charity c/o Pogson & Armitage Ltd, 53 Huddersfield Road, Diggle, Saddleworth OL3 5NT or call 01457 872149.