Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Memories Are Made of This; MUM-OF-TWO Joanne Stott Will Fulfil a Lifelong Dream When She Opens Her First Business on Tyneside Tomorrow in Memory of Her Parents. She Chats to LIZ LAMB

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Memories Are Made of This; MUM-OF-TWO Joanne Stott Will Fulfil a Lifelong Dream When She Opens Her First Business on Tyneside Tomorrow in Memory of Her Parents. She Chats to LIZ LAMB

Article excerpt

Byline: LIZ LAMB

EVERY love letter, birthday card and handwritten note Joanne Stott's parents sent each other during 60 years of marriage was signed Y.A.P, a heartfelt inscription that stands for You Are Precious.

It was a poignant symbol of the bornand bred-Wallsend couple's happy marriage which lasted more than five decades until their deaths in the last three years.

Today, their daughter, Joanne Stott, opens her first business in Newcastle city centre in their memory and has called her bridal boutique Y.A.P as a tribute to her mam Mary and dad Johnny, both 79.

Hanging on the wall of the shop where Joanne will help North East brides find the perfect dress for their big day will be a photograph of the couple taken on their wedding day on August 26, 1950.

Joanne says: "Three years ago dad dropped down dead on the club floor in Wallsend. He was a larger than life character, a very charismatic man. It was just so sudden.

"When he went out the door he had said to mam, 'I won't be long angel', and he never came back. He was dead just 40 minutes after leaving the house.

"Dad suffered a heart attack. It was a huge loss to the family. We are a massive family. I have three brothers and mam was one of seven and we are all really close.

"Mam could not get over his death. She died of a broken heart 17 months to the day." The Laings were both from Wallsend but brought up Joanne and her three brothers in the family home in West Moor.

Mary was a full-time mum to the children while Johnny ran his own business J W Laing and Sons, a shop fitting and joinery firm located near St James's Park.

Part of his work was fitting out Ladbrokes stores across the North East and Joanne's brothers, Chris, 47, John, 50 and David, 51, later went on to work as shop fitters for the family firm.

"They had been married nearly 60 years," says the 40-year-old, who is married to Chris and has two children Abbie, 15 and Ryan, 23.

"It was horrendous when they died. Mam adored us all but she could not get on with life after dad died.

"She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on the Wednesday and the following Wednesday she died.

"I held her in my arms as she died. She wanted to be with her dad."

Grief-stricken Joanne threw herself into charity work, trekking across the Sahara desert with 16 other fundraisers to raise money for Newcastle's Marie Curie Hospice.

"When my parents died my whole world fell apart," she says. "My cousin died in a Marie Curie Hospice so I knew their work really well and when I heard about the trek I just thought it would give me something positive to focus on.

"I have a wonderful husband, amazing kids but I needed something to help me. I had to have closure.

"It was a brilliant experience trekking in the desert but you come back and you get on with your life. …

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