A generous and kind-hearted woman who was the first to have hole-in-the-heart surgery in the country has died.
Wendy Sykes was born on November 30 1942 in Banbury and was aged only 13 when she had the first operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London in November 1958.
Ms Sykes died from pneumonia aged 72 in Lancing, Sussex on March 26 and a thanksgiving service to celebrate her life was on April 11.
Her sister Sue Quinney, who lives in Hanwell, said: “Wendy was only given a life expectancy of just another 17 years after her operation. She lived a full life and always gave 100 per cent to everything she did. She brought joy, happiness and laughter to everyone who knew her.”
Ms Sykes was brought up at 65 Bloxham Road and attended Harriers Ground Primary School. She then went to the Easington Modern School on Ruskin Road.
Her father Alexander was a window dresser at the haberdashery shop Judges, based on the High Street and she worked at Littlewoods for a short time and as an under-nanny to Sir Peter Ward, looking after his daughter Rachel.
She was also popular in Banbury for being a football referee and went went to matches with her brother Nigel and father, which was what inspired her dream.
As well as being a referee, she helped at the Beacon Centre for the Homeless, worked as a volunteer in the town’s PDSA shop and was a lollipop lady.
She was the younger sister to Nigel and older sister to Susan and Jane.