Leigh restaurant worker was 'loved by all'

Kim and Billy Parkinson
Kim and Billy Parkinson
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Kind-hearted residents have donated more than £1,400 to a children’s charity in memory of a Leigh woman who was “loved by all”.

The cash was donated to Ronald McDonald House in memory of Kim Parkinson, a popular member of McDonald’s staff who died last year.

Kim was just 58 when she died after suffering a stroke at home in October.

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She had worked at the fast food restaurant inside Leigh’s Asda store for more than 15 years.

Her husband John, better known as Billy, spoke to the Observer about how popular his late wife was.

“Everybody loved her, she was very well known”, the 60-year-old Leyther said.

“You can tell how popular she was because the church was packed solid for her funeral.

“There was at least a few hundred people there.”

Originally from Northern Ireland, Kim met John in 1976 while he was stationed in Belfast with the army.

In an attempt to win over her parents, John told them his name was Billy Donnegan. Although he eventually came clean about his real name, his alias has stuck ever since, with even their daughter Corina Ratcliffe calling her dad Billy to this day.

The couple moved to Leigh soon after marrying.

They were married for 38-and-a-half years and had one daughter Corinna, who now has two children herself.

Billy went on to describe the passion Kim had for her job.

“She absolutely loved it, because she loved working with the older and young people. All the kids used to come running and jump into her arms.

“Kim would also go over to the older people and take their order, then bring it over to them.

“She also fund-raised all the time, all off her own back.

“She didn’t have to do it at all.

“She would put lovely hampers together and sell tickets in the restaurant.

“Whatever money was raised all went straight to Ronald McDonald House, she loved that charity because there were two or three local people who had used it themselves for their own children.”

The idea to raise money for the hospice in Kim’s name came to fruition at her funeral and wake, where over £1,460 was collected.

The money was presented to a representative of the charity in the very branch where Kim worked for so long.