Tributes as Blackpool loses a star

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HEARTFELT tributes were today paid to legendary Blackpool hotelier and charity champion Pat Mancini who has lost her battle with cancer.

Her devastated family, stars of the entertainment scene and friends today said Blackpool had lost a “wonderful lady who had a heart as big as the resort”.

The 72-year-old died yesterday surrounded by family at her home, the Queens Hotel on South Promenade.

Her family and close friends told The Gazette: “Blackpool will simply not be the same without Pat’s gracious and humorous presence. We will all miss her tireless enthusiasm and devotion to the town. In fact it is difficult to imagine Blackpool without her.”

The mum-of two had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour only last year.

Doctors had initially thought she had suffered a stroke following a fire at the hotel last July, but further tests revealed the tumour.

Mrs Mancini underwent an operation to remove some of the tumour and had radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Close friend Annemarie Slack, who is a member of the Queendeans charity which was run by Mrs Mancini, said: “I was with her yesterday. She was a fighter right until the end. I held her hand and told her how much I loved her.”

Mrs Slack, who used to run the Viking hotel next-door to Mrs Mancini, added: “We’ve been close friends since 1988. It’s just heartbreaking.

“She was the most amazing woman. I will miss her so, so much.”

Mrs Mancini was awarded an MBE in 2007 for her dedicated charity work, raising money for the local community including the Scouts, the Deaf Club and N-Vision, formerly known as the Blind Society.

FOR MORE TRIBUTES SEE FRIDAY’S GAZETTE