Long-serving community volunteer who fought to improve Sheffield's Wybourn estate dies aged 85

A long-serving community volunteer who fought tirelessly to improve Sheffield’s Wybourn estate has died aged 85.

By Alana Roberts
Monday, 27th April 2020, 9:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 4:59 pm
Jean Castleton, from Wybourn, has died aged 85
Jean Castleton, from Wybourn, has died aged 85

Jean Castleton was born in Wybourn on October 7, 1934, and spent the majority of her life living on the estate, becoming a well-known figure and playing a vital role in the running of the community centre for over 30 years.

She was passionate about the rights of those living in the community and was part of the group which oversaw the estate’s 1,093 Sheffield Council homes transferred to Manchester Methodist Housing Association in an improvement programme worth £70 million, regularly meeting with MP’s and council leaders.

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Jean Castleton pictured in Wybourn where she lived the majority of her life

As a teenager, she met and fell in love with her husband at Wybourn School and the pair went on to have six children; Gary, Tina, David, who sadly passed away in 2016, Mark, Debra, and Maria.

She was part of the small team of volunteers working at Wybourn Community Centre, running various events including bingo sessions, ‘pie and pea’ suppers, and youth clubs – going out of her way to help anybody who needed it.

Determined to raise spirits in the area, she also organised day trips for residents travelling all over the UK to places such as Blackpool, Skegness and Mablethorpe and even further afield visiting the likes of Spain and Amsterdam.

Around Christmas time, Jean would create food parcels and hand-deliver them to the elderly in the estate, a tradition she carried on long after the community centre closed.

Jean Castleton, who passed away from dementia, pictured with friends

For many who grew up in the area, she will be remembered as a cleaner at Wybourn Community School working there for many years before her retirement in 1999.

Jean was diagnosed with dementia in 2013 and moved to Paddock Hill Care Home, in Gleadless, where she passed away on April 17 from her condition.

She has been described by her family as a “well-known woman that left a beautiful mark on peoples life's growing up in Wybourn area”.

Her youngest daughter Maria, 54, thanked the ‘wonderful’ staff at Paddock Hill. She added: “My mum was quite amazing for the estate. We used to have a little running joke between the family – we always used to say ‘oh where is mum?’ and my dad used to say ‘she’s gone to the community centre’.

Jean Castleton pictured with friends at Wybourn Community Centre

“We used to say ‘she puts that before us’, we knew she didn’t but that always made us laugh. She just loved to be there, she was a Wybourn lass through and through.”

There will be no public funeral due to Covid-19 but a memorial service will take place later in the year. Her family are asking for people to share their memories of Jean, or if anyone wants to send a card of condolence contact [email protected]

The family say their heart also goes out to relatives of Gerald Hackford, from Wybourn, who recently died due to blockage to his heart, and are joining the fight to get Sheffield Council to lift the five-person restriction for family funerals.

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Jean Castleton pictured with her family who will miss her dearly

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