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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Manager of Cumbrian museum dies suddenly aged 44

Tributes have been paid to the manager of Whitehaven museum The Beacon who has died suddenly at the age of 44.

Sue Palmer photo
Sue Palmer

Family, friends and colleagues of Sue Palmer are still coming to terms with the shocking news as well as many stunned people in the town.

Ms Palmer, who lived at Kells with her partner Christopher Fletcher, suffered a major heart attack on Thursday and died five days later.

Originally from Carlisle, Ms Palmer began her museum career in Whitehaven as assistant curator, working with Harry Fancy in 1994 when Copeland’s collection was held in the Civic Hall.

After spells with other UK museums she returned in 2004 as Beacon manager and had recently been involved in negotiations between Copeland Council and Sellafield over a deal which brought to an end six months of uncertainty over The Beacon’s future.

Florence Sibson, a longstanding member of the Friends of the Museum, said everyone was devastated by such sad news.

“Sue was a lovely woman, most helpful, and respected by all our members,” she said.

Copeland Council’s head of services, Pat Graham, said: “Sue was a much admired and well respected member of the Copeland team and she will be sadly missed by all who knew her. All our thoughts and prayers are with Sue’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

One of the highlights of Ms Palmer’s career at the harbourside museum was in 2008 when the Queen and Prince Philip visited.

Ms Palmer was chosen to show the Royal party around The Beacon during which The Queen formally opened the revamped museum. A year later Sue and a colleague attended the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Following news of her death, the Beacon has been closed and will remain so until Saturday, July 13, while preparations are made for the summer holiday exhibitions Ice Age – Life After Dinosaurs and Shark – Myths and Reality.


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