A COMMUNITY is mourning the loss of an inspirational woman whose selfless drive and enthusiasm brought people together and raised thousands of pounds for charity.
Pauline Mills died at St Luke’s Hospice on Thursday, aged 56, after an uncomplaining battle with cancer.
She was known to so many people as the face of Sainsbury’s in Northwich.
As the store’s community ambassador, Pauline organised talks about the company, guided tours for groups like the WI and arranged donations of surplus food to the Salvation Army and The Petty Pool Trust.
She organised staff trips and social events and galvanised the team in all their fundraising efforts, raising countless amounts for Petty Pool, St Luke’s Hospice and The Joshua Tree.
Pauline, from Cuddington, worked closely with Northwich’s schools, and became a governor of Victoria Road Primary School.
But tributes paid by her family have also revealed a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend who always made time for those she loved.
She was married to Peter for 35 years and the couple had three children, Helen, 33, Kate, 31, and Chris 28, and two granddaughters, Faith, four, and Isla, three.
Her daughter-in-law Samantha said: “She was amazing, everyone says she was inspirational.
“She was like a mum to me and the most selfless person I’ve ever met.
“I’ve never met anyone like it who just gives, she would never take anything for herself.
“Her birthdays were all about how to get everyone together having a good time.
“She was really strong, organised and dependable and a real character.”
Even on her 56th birthday, just weeks before she died, Pauline hosted a party at home and insisted guests make a donation to St Luke’s instead of buying her a present – she raised £230.
She and four friends, Stella Sandbach, Sue Parsons, Margaret Harris and Jackie Ellis, formed the Gourmet Girls who met once a month for dinner parties at each other’s houses, a tradition they kept up for 22 years.
She was with Peter and friends Jackie Ellis and Linda Smith when she died.
Her funeral will be held on Friday for family and close friends.
Her family has requested no flowers but welcomes donations to St Luke’s and Macmillan Cancer Support.
The Joshua Tree said: “What a beautiful lady.
What an inspiration she was to everyone she came into contact with.
“Pauline had a wonderful attitude to life.
“She always put others before herself, always going the extra mile to help in any way she could.
“Her laughter was contagious – she brightened up a whole room with her stories.
“At The Joshua Tree we feel very privileged to have known Pauline.
“Her passion for helping our charity came from her heart – it was so much more than ‘fulfilling her role’ at Sainsbury’s.
“She showed a real desire to make a positive difference and we loved chatting with her over coffee, both about her next ideas for fundraising but also about her life.
“At The Joshua Tree, we would like to extend our sincere sympathy to all family and friends.
“She truly was a very special lady and we will all miss her terribly.
“She will be remembered with great fondness.”
Francis House Children’s Hospice said: “She was so good, and not just to some chosen charities or just to charities in Northwich but to lots of charities.
“We have been going for 20 years and Pauline was so good to us at the beginning – we valued her so much as a friend to the hospice.
“We thought she was wonderful.”