Fisherman's Friend tycoon leaves £41m to hometown Fleetwood

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Doreen LofthouseImage source, SWNS
Image caption,
Businesswoman Doreen Lofthouse was known as the "mother of Fleetwood"

A coastal town has received a £41m donation from a woman who was involved in the success of Fisherman's Friend cough sweets.

Businesswoman Doreen Lofthouse, who died in March aged 91, has left her fortune to a charity that aims to develop her Fleetwood hometown.

Since the 1990s, Mrs Lofthouse and her family have given millions of pounds to community projects in Lancashire.

Fleetwood Town Council described the donation as "unbelievable".

A total of £41.4m was bequeathed to the Lofthouse Foundation, which was set up by Mrs Lofthouse and her family in 1994 to revitalise the town.

The famous remedy was originally made by Fleetwood pharmacist James Lofthouse in 1865 after three croaky fishermen tried but failed to tell him about their catch of the day.

Since then, the family business has grown to produce about 5 billion lozenges a year, the firm says.

The current typical look of the sweets is based on the buttons of a dress worn by Mrs Lofthouse, who married one of James Lofthouse's descendants.

Known as "the mother of Fleetwood", she helped spread the word of the menthol and eucalyptus lozenges around the world in the 1960s.

She was also remembered by her many contributions over the years, including helping to fund floodlights at the local football club, a lifeboat for the RNLI and public artworks such as the "welcome home" statue for the families of fishermen.

She was later awarded an MBE and an OBE for her charity work.

Image source, Fisherman's Friend
Image caption,
The Lofthouse family started selling the fiery lozenges to local shops more than 150 years ago

Fleetwood Town Council's vice chairman Mary Stirzaker told BBC North West Tonight that Mrs Lofthouse was "an incredible woman" and that it was "overwhelmed by the generosity".

"It is an unbelievable amount of money," she said.

"We are hoping the foundation works alongside us to identify projects that will benefit the town for years to come.

"We have got to keep Fleetwood on the map. I hope that this brings more visitors to our town."

Since Mrs Lofthouse's death, people have called for a permanent memorial to be built in her honour.

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