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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Barrow baby tragedy family tribute

THE family of a young mum whose baby daughter died when she was just 18 weeks old are to open a cocktail bar in her memory.

Opal Neale died suddenly in her sleep at her Barrow home in February this year.

Opal’s family have now re-opened the Old Bank in Duke Street, Barrow, and plan to turn a section of the pub into a cocktail bar as a tribute to her.

Opal’s mum Vicki Neale, 22, said: “The whole family are still getting over it.

“We’re just trying to keep busy to try and get over it – that’s the easiest thing to do.

“There’s a lot of us in the family and we’ve all said we’ll all do it together, because we’re doing it for Opal.

“She is the main thing pushing us to do it.’’

Miss Neale’s brother Matthew is pub licensee, but the whole family, who have never run a pub before, are chipping in to try to make a success of the pub. Miss Neale is sister to Jason, Luke and Ethan, daughter to Lorraine and Stephen, and grand daughter to Margaret and Victor Bewley.

Stephen, Matthew and Margaret featured in the Evening Mail in 2008 when all three were made redundant following the closure of Woolworths in Dalton Road, Barrow.

After hearing of their plight, producers of the Sky One programme Noel’s HQ, with Noel Edmonds, featured the family on the show.

At the time, Miss Neale had not long given birth to daughter Luna, now three.

She is also mum to Saffia, 20 months, and all three girls’ daughters’ names are tattooed on her arms.

Courtesy of the show, Luna was treated to a first-class christening at Chequers Hotel in Dalton.

Miss Neale, a former Thorncliffe School pupil, of Parade Street, Barrow, said her family were touched that friends have offered to help out at the pub for no pay.

She said: “People who we know have said they’re going to support us. They’ve said they will work for free to help us.

“People around here know us and know the reason why we’re doing it and they’ve just offered to help in any way they can.”

A tree decoration has been placed on the cocktail bar wall to represent the weeping willow the family have put at Opal’s graveside.

Three months after her sudden death, the family are awaiting the inquest which should shed more light on the circumstances in which Opal died.

Miss Bewley said: “It’s just one of those things we’re having to deal with.

“But luckily I’ve got my other two girls. They keep me going.”

Have your say

Which ever way the Neale family choose to remember and celebrate baby Opal's life is entirely up to them. How people can judge this is beyond me. I can't imagine what this poor family has been through and negativity is something which they do not need.
I wish you all the best and hope your business is a great success

Posted by Stacy on 1 June 2012 at 12:55

stan how dare you, its not up to you how people deal with loss, people seek attention when they NEED it if you dont like that then Stop reading the news

Posted by john on 30 May 2012 at 20:37

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