Tribute to store worker

Former colleagues of Next employee Patricia Cottam gather round the memorial bench which they installed outside the Fleetwood Freeport branch where she worked before her death. On the bench are (from left): Yvonne Calligan (deputy store manager), Valerie McCausland (former store manager) and Ros Quinn (sales assistant).
Former colleagues of Next employee Patricia Cottam gather round the memorial bench which they installed outside the Fleetwood Freeport branch where she worked before her death. On the bench are (from left): Yvonne Calligan (deputy store manager), Valerie McCausland (former store manager) and Ros Quinn (sales assistant).

Fleetwood store workers who were left devastated when a popular colleague unexpectedly died have left a lasting tribute to her.

Patricia Cottam, of Hazeldene Avenue, was a popular member of staff at the Next clothing outlet at Fleetwood Freeport. But last year she became ill and had to have time off work.

Sadly, she never came back. Within just eight weeks of feeling ill, she died on November 16, aged 62, after being diagnosed with bowel cancer and undergoing gruelling chemotherapy.

When the store’s 38 members of staff had a collection in her memory, they raised an impressive £315 and decided to have a special memorial bench made and displayed outside the shop.

At its official unveiling, they invited Patricia’s family members and many friends to attend.

Yvonne Calligan, deputy manager at the store, said: “Pat was such a lovely colleague and we wanted to do something in her memory.”

Two of Patricia’s three sons, Kevin and Michael Cottam, were among those attending and Kevin, 36, said:“The Next staff have been brilliant to us.”