Fund set up in memory of Wigan mum who died of Covid-related illness

A generous Wiganer is raising money for a friend of more than 30 years who lost his wife to a Covid-related illness.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 7:00 am

Stephen Ryder, from Orrell, said his pal Richard has been left heartbroken” after the death of his wife of 27 years Vanessa Newton.

The 45-year-old died at Wigan Infirmary on March 2.

Born in Wigan and living in Pemberton during her life, Vanessa worked as a supply teacher and teaching assistant in schools in and around the borough for many years.

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Vanessa Newton

Described by Mr Ryder as “one of life’s great carers” and as someone who had a “devotion to animals”, Vanessa leaves behind teenage children Devon, 19 and Abbie, 16.

Now Mr Ryder, who was close friends with both Richard and Vanessa, wants to give something back to their family.

His efforts so far have seen him raise nearly £4,000 after setting up a GoFundMe page.

He said: “Vanessa wasn’t ill for a long time, it was about a week and was very quick.

“She had a blood clot related to Covid.

“I want to raise money for Richard and Devon and Abbie.

“Myself and Richard were friends for 33 years and best men at each other’s weddings.

“We were like brothers .

“I’ve known Vanessa for a long time and she was an amazing and lovely lady.”

Mr Ryder said Vanessa would pick his daughter from school, who would call her “auntie Vanessa”.

He also said he would go on multiple holidays and days out with Vanessa and Richard.

He said: “Vanessa was a great teacher and a super caring lady.

“She loved animals and was potty about them.

“She has had pets such as dogs, lizards and rabbits in the past. “

Mr Ryder went on to describe Vanessa as someone who had spent her whole working life helping others achieve their full ambitions .

While he said she “brought happiness” to many students and colleagues over her working life and had a “passion for helping children with disabilities.”

Mr Ryder said he was overwhelmed to the response his fundraising page had received.

He said: “In a short space of time, I’ve had about 100 donors and originally my target had been £3,000.

“But it gained so much momentum that I wanted to raise an extra £1,000 which I nearly have.

“I don’t want to push people but if they can make a little contribution I’d be very thankful.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has donated so far.”

To donate money to Mr Ryder, visit his GoFundMe page “To help Newton Family in Memory of Vanessa Newton”.