TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of an Atherton woman who dedicated her life to helping the deaf community.

Chris Shone spent her spare time teaching sign language in the area, including to emergency services, and set up and ran the UK’s largest deaf youth group at Bolton Lads and Girls Club.

Her daughter Billie Raynor told the Journal: “She worked at Unsworth’s Funeral Service for the past nine years where she helped grieving families get through the hardest times with her compassion, humour and care.

"Many would continue to visit her in the Atherton branch long after their relatives’ passing, just for a cup of tea and a friendly chat.

“She had a funny way of making anyone feel better.”

Chris, who lived in Atherton all her life, was the sole founder of the club, with some members travelling for two hours twice a week to attend.

Billie added: “She was their mentor, guide and saw all of these children as her own.

“Mum took the group on residential holidays all over England, France and Greece, completed charity fundraisers and encouraged members of the group to overcome challenges, whether it be personal problems or physical such as getting them to complete the ‘hundred mile canoe trek’.

“She will be so sorely missed, not just as a mum on a personal level, but as a genuinely talented, loving lady and good friend to so many.”

Chris died peacefully aged 59 after a short illness at St Ann’s Hospice on May 28.

  • A service is being held at Howe bridge crematorium at 1.45pm tomorrow, Friday followed by a celebration of her life at The Clubhouse on Flapper Fold Lane.