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Widow who turned Fisherman’s Friends into global brands leaves £41.4million in will

A WIDOW who turned Fisherman’s Friends into a global brand has left £41.4million in her will.

And Doreen Lofthouse continued a lifetime of philanthropy by bequeathing most of her fortune to charity.

The shop-girl-turned-entrepreneur, who died in March aged 91, left £325,000 to be shared among her gardeners, secretaries and housekeepers.

She also left the pick of her jewellery to her only son’s wife Linda Lofthouse.

But the rest went to the Lofthouse Foundation, which has funded millions of pounds of good works in her home town of Fleetwood, Lancs, and earned her the nickname Mother of Fleetwood.

Fisherman’s Friends were invented by chemist James Lofthouse in Fleetwood in 1865 to soothe croaky seamen’s throats.

Shop worker Doreen, who left school with no qualifications, married his great-grandson, Alan, and quickly realised the potential of the eucalyptus and menthol sweets.

In 1963, she took over the company, transforming its fortunes, first, by selling the throat lozenges from a van across the North West and then convincing shopkeepers — and Boots — to stock them.

Five billion of the cough sweets are now sold in 100 countries every year.

Doreen, made an OBE in 2008, even sent the lozenges to world leaders Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan after seeing them coughing in public.

She divorced Alan and, in 1976, married his brother’s son, Tony, who was 14 years her junior and died in 2018. Doreen leaves behind a son from her first marriage, Duncan, who still runs the business.

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