Lady Atkinson – a tribute

This tribute was written by Hazel’s family for her funeral and is copied here by permission.

Hazel died on Sunday 18th September peacefully at home.

Lady Hazel was born on 15th November 1927 in Carlisle, Cumbria. She attended the Carlisle County High School for Girls. After leaving school she worked for the County Council Office as secretary to the chief clerk. When the chief clerk left, to take up a position on Winchester, Hazel sat exams in London and obtained a position as PA to a senior medical specialist for the World Health Organisation in Geneva.

She lived in Geneva for many years, even after returning to the UK she continued to have contracts with W.H.O. resulting in her driving and flying backwards and forwards which she loved! Hazel returned to the UK to live in Newcastle upon Tyne where she worked as PA to Dr Ogalvy carrying out research in respiratory disease. Whilst in Newcastle she met her first husband John Ephriam Walker, a ships chandler.

Hazel has always been a sociable person and enjoyed entertaining through which she made many friends. She was a fabulous cook.

After the death of her first husband, to whom she was married for 18 years, she continued to live alone in Newcastle. Hazel then met her second husband , Robert Atkinson, who was chairman and chief executive of Aurora Holdings based in Sheffield. Both loving the countryside Robert proposed to Hazel on the top of a mountain which she found highly amusing. Hazel married Robert in Sheffield Cathedral in 1977. They lived in Sheffield staying frequently in London before moving to Winchester.

As Chairman of British Shipbuilders Robert was knighted and Hazel became Lady Atkinson. Many friends joked how she deserved the title being married to Robert and having entertained and packed suitcases endlessly whilst keeping to a rigid time schedule!

Throughout her life she loved travelling and visited countless places across the world. She frequently visited her home in the Lake District to see her beloved brother, Gerald, who is now 90. She spoke French and studied Italian. Trips always included galleries and museums. She was a patron of the arts.

Sadly, on Friday 5th November 2010 Hazel and Robert were in a serious accident and sustained life changing injuries. Hazel has recently been nursed at home by Maria and Liz who gave her outstanding care and support.

Hazel was always elegant and beautifully dressed. She was vivacious, spirited and loved life. Hence her favourite Chinese proverb ‘Flowers for the living.’

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