Tributes have been paid to a community stalwart who dedicated two decades of her life to restoring a popular park.
Hazel Wilkinson, from Oswaldtwistle, died following a battle with breast cancer at East Lancashire Hospice on Friday, August 25, aged 69.
The grandmother-of-four, of Park Lane, had been a member of the Friends of Rhyddings Park charity since 1996 and as their treasurer was a key driving force behind securing a £2 million heritage lottery grant for the Oswaldtwistle park.
Her husband Albert said: “She certainly was proud to get that grant - there was a lot of hard work put in by everybody. The park was very close to her heart.
“Hazel was a friendly, honest and well-liked person. She had a lot of different hobbies, there was never a dull moment. She really threw herself into life in Ossy. I hope she’ll be remembered for all that she did, she leaves a big hole behind.”
Born in Eccles, Hazel moved to Haslingden as a child and when she left school worked at NatWest at their Accrington and Haslingden branches.
She met Albert at a church youth club in 1963 aged 17, and they married at St James Church in Haslingden in 1975, then moving to Albert’s home town of Oswaldtwistle.
Hazel was involved with the Brownies at St James’ Church, and later became an administrative worker at Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School.
In the late 1980s she took a job as exams officer at Hollins Technology College, gained a degree in Business Studies at Blackburn College and was also a dedicated member of St Paul’s Church in Oswaldtwistle.
An avid reader, Hazel was also a keen traveller, of the UK, Ireland and in Europe. In 1996 she became involved in the Friends of Rhyddings Park group which was in its infancy, and remained an active member until 2016.
Albert added: “Whatever she did she put her heart and soul into it and did it meticulously.
“She was passionate about doing things properly and ensuring the outcomes were successful. Usually if she had a lot of involvement in something it would work. That is her legacy.”
Hazel leaves her husband Albert, children Philip and Laura, and grandchildren Alex, Callum, Theo and Cerys.
Her funeral will take place on Friday, September 8 at St Paul’s Church in Oswaldtwistle.