HUNDREDS of friends turned out to say a fond farewell to a woman one resident called the 'first lady of New Brighton'.

The funeral service took place at The Parish Church of St James' Church in Victoria Road as mourners celebrated the life of Patricia Anne Brown.

Pat, who died aged 72, loved New Brighton and the resort's residents loved and respected her back.

Her parents married at St James Church, where she was baptised and attended 8am mass every week. She was also an inspirational Sunday school worker.

Pat, as she was affectionately known, was born and lived in the same house until she died.

Among those paying tribute was Cathy Roberts, who runs Literally Books in Atherton Street. She said: "Pat was a lovely woman who had time for everyone and was a true pillar of the community.

"I can still see her beaming smile as she stopped by our shop.

"She was known with great affection as the 'paper girl' – delivering local newspapers over the years.

"Pat, who was devoted to animal welfare, was a familiar figure walking her beloved dog Jet." 

Her pet is now being looked after by close friends.

Following the funeral service, an afternoon 'memory sharing' tea reception was held in Pat's honour in the Garden Room at New Brighton's Floral Pavilion.

Victoria Parade traders have bought an old dinghy boat that they will convert into a permanent floral display in recognition of her community spirit.

And there are plans for a bench in her honour.

The Reverend Bruce D. Harry said: "Pat was a true Christian soul who loved the simple things in life.

"Everyone who met here – felt better for it."