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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 June, 2004, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Fun park matriarch dies after son
Doris and Geoffrey Thompson
Doris Thompson died hours after Geoffrey's funeral
The eldest surviving member of Blackpool's first family of fun has died hours after her son's funeral.

Doris Thompson, 101, was too ill to attend the funeral on Wednesday of her 67-year-old son Geoffrey, the managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

A spokeswoman for the company said Mrs Thompson died peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday.

Mrs Thompson, who received an OBE in 2003, always tried out the new rides on the theme park even into her 90s.

Her son Geoffrey died on 15 June after he was taken ill at a private family function at the park's Paradise Room.

Doris Thompson and Boyzone
She road tested the Pleasure Beach's new game with Boyzone and I gather they ended up looking more frightened than she did
Gordon Marsden MP

The chairman of the Pleasure Beach Company, Mrs Thompson was the daughter of Alderman William Bean, who founded the park in 1896.

Mrs Thompson, who was awarded an MBE in 1969, became the first woman to be made a freeman of Blackpool Borough when she received this honour in 2003 for services to tourism.

She went into work every day and made a point of trying every new ride at the park.

The last time she did this was in 2002 when she rode the 60mph Spin Doctor at the age of 99.

Councillor Roy Fisher, leader of Blackpool Council, said: "This news is terribly sad for the family, and our hearts go out to them today.

"Mrs Thompson was an amazing woman who, right to the very end, maintained a direct and influential interest in Blackpool Pleasure Beach and lived such a full and rich life.

"It was incredible that until only recently she was still going on the big rides armed with a big smile.

"She made a lasting contribution to the tourism industry, and seemed to embody the spirit of Blackpool. She was a true ambassador for the town.

'Great character'

"The town has lost a wonderful Freeman of the Borough, and on behalf of all the councillors and staff I convey our deepest sympathies."

Local MP Gordon Marsden said her death was terrible for the town and her family especially following her son's death.

"I met Doris Thompson a number of times, she was an absolutely great character and she embodied the whole history of Blackpool and the Pleasure Beach throughout the 20th century," said the Labour MP for Blackpool South.

"She road tested the Pleasure Beach's new game with Boyzone and I gather they ended up looking more frightened than she did."

Hundreds mourn theme park chief
23 Jun 04  |  Lancashire
Blackpool beach boss dies
13 Jun 04  |  Lancashire
Local heroes get freedom honour
09 Apr 03  |  Lancashire

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