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Jack Straw’s ‘lioness’ mother dies at 92
HARD WORKING Joan Ormston, in her younger days, pegging out the washing at the family home in Woodford Green, Essex
JACK Straw spoke fondly last night of his “lioness” mother who died at the weekend, aged 92.
Joan Ormston passed away after a heart attack in a nursing home, in Loughton, Essex, where she brought up the Blackburn MP, and his three brothers and two sisters, single-handedly on a council estate after his father left.
Mr Straw had seen her on Wednesday before she died on Saturday night.
Speaking from Hong Kong, en route on a long-arranged visit to China, Mr Straw said: “My mother was my inspiration and driving force. As I said in my autobiography, she was a lioness of a woman. She was very, very important to me. Everything I achieved was down to her. I could have done none of it without her, and her backing.
“Thankfully, she died quickly, and peacefully, after a heart attack.
“She was very fit and healthy until she was 90, and it is only in the last two years she has suffered. I saw her on Wednesday and she seemed fine, although she said she was feeling lonely.
“My mother was a wonderful woman and we will all miss her greatly.
“She was living proof how courage and hard work could overcome adversity.
“She lived a very full life, and I am immensely proud of her.
“My sister Helen is making the funeral arrangements, and I shall be back for that.”
Rossendale and Darwen Tory MP Jake Berry said: “I know his mother was very important to Jack and I feel for him.
“I am sure all the people of Blackburn with Darwen will join me in sending their cond-olences to him and his family at this difficult time.”
Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Kate Hollern said: “By all accounts Jack’s mother was a wonderful woman.
“I know Jack and his family will miss her greatly and I send my condolences to them all. ”
Former Rossendale and Darwen MP Janet Anderson, who worked for Mr Straw as a personal assistant before being elected, said: “I think Joan was very important to Jack. She was an amazing woman, and the reason Jack achieved what he did.
“She brought up her children single-handedly and was very political – something she passed on to him. She was very small and unassuming, but never-theless a very remarkable and powerful woman.”
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