Community loses a warm and generous woman

Enid Ross and her husband Lionel.
Enid Ross and her husband Lionel.

A KIND-HEARTED Morpeth businesswoman has died at the age of 77.

Enid Ross ran CL Ross Jewellers in Newgate Street with her husband Lionel for almost 50 years, but was perhaps best known for the adjoining Ross’ Coffee Bar, a traditional cafe with a jukebox, which was a hotspot in the 1960s.

She was a Morpethian through-and-through, having been born in Bowmer Bank Cottages in Newgate Street in 1934.

Her father was a caretaker and the family lived in the church house in Dacre Street, before moving to a flat above the former Barclays Bank premises in the Market Place.

Mrs Ross attended Goosehill First School and Newminster School, where she was Head Girl, later attending Morpeth Commercial College to learn secretarial skills.

Her first job was at Northgate Hospital, but she contracted TB and had to spend time recuperating at Wooley Sanatorium in Hexham.

After her recovery she went to work at Ross The Jewellers in Morpeth, where she was to meet her future husband. The pair married in Newcastle in 1957 and had two children, Barbara and Kevin.

Mrs Ross spent long hours in the business, where she became the driving force in finding new lines, such as Maling ware and jewellery from across the globe, to keep ahead of competition.

She was also instrumental in expanding the family business, trying several ventures in an adjoining unit, including a record shop, coffee bar and gift boutique.

Mrs Ross loved her work and didn’t retire until she was 70.

Away from the business, she enjoyed retail therapy and was a keen churchgoer, first at St Mary’s Church, where she was in the choir, and later Morpeth Methodist Church. She was also a member of Northumberland Chorus.

Along with her husband, she had a passion for foreign travel, visiting countries such as Singapore, India and Turkey, and the couple would often spend up to three months away at a time.

They were frequent visitors to Goa, where they became so friendly with the locals that they were known as ‘Mam and Dad’, and their generosity was legendary.

The couple would fill their suitcases with toys and gifts for the community, but they also lavished more expensive items, such as paying for a new floor for one resident and buying a taxi for another to start his own business.

Mrs Ross’ daughter Barbara Waldie paid tribute to the lively matriarch.

“She was so vibrant and everybody talked about her warm smile,” she said.

“She was fun-loving and generous, sometimes to the point of extravagance, but for all the right reasons.

“She was a stalwart of the church and she loved shopping and enterprise.

“She would work six days a week and on the seventh day she would be attending trade fairs and shopping for the business.

“Every card we have got about her mentions her warmth so that must really have come through.”

Mrs Ross died on Monday, March 26, leaving her husband, two children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

A service of celebration of her life was held at Morpeth Methodist Church.