IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Barmaid Sharon was ‘beating heart of the community’

Mother-of-two, who organised events for the elderly and helped families at adventure playground, outlasted ‘10 managers’ at The Unicorn pub

19 June, 2020 — By Mike Power and Calum Fraser

Sharon Jobe (middle) was born at the Whittington Hospital and lived her whole life in Islington

FAMILY and friends have paid tribute to a loving mother, activist and longstanding barmaid who died after a battle with cancer.

Sharon Jobe, 59, has been described by one of her best friends Caroline Benford as the “beating heart of the community”.

The mother-of-two spent her days organising events at the Goodinge Community Centre in North Road for the elderly and helping families at the Lumpy Hill adventure playground in Market Road.

In the evenings she worked at The Unicorn pub in Camden Road as a barmaid for 15 years, outlasting “10 managers” and several owners.

Her son James Jobe, 28, told the Tribune: “Mum had loads of friends. The majority of the time if you ever saw her she would be talking to someone.

“She was active and always on her feet. I worked at The Unicorn with her and if anyone came in for anything the managers would send them to mum because she knew everything. She loved the banter with the regulars.”

Cathal Lamb, who knew Sharon from The Unicorn, said: “Sharon was a wonderful person who was always there for everyone. She loved her community and generously gave to others. She will be greatly missed.”

Sharon was born in the Whittington Hospital and lived her whole life in Islington, first in MacKenzie Road, then at what was the old Market Estate which was then redeveloped into Parkside Estate by Caledonian Park.

The Unicorn pub in Camden Road

When she moved into the Market Estate in 1988 she found local tenants were blighted by serious problems of anti-social behaviour with fires being lit in rubbish chutes, destruction of security measures, smashed windows, and entrances torn down. The estate and park also attracted joy riders, drug dealers and prostitutes.

Her reaction was to get organised. She got a group together with Jim Veal and others to set up a tenants’ association.

Two years later, following the tragic death of 12 year-old Chris Pullen, who was killed when a vandalised steel door fell on him, Sharon led the association in a campaign to have the estate demolished and rebuilt.

Sharon and the association ensured that local people were properly consulted before work started, which meant that their wishes came first.

She remained chair of what is now the Clocktower Residents Group to the end of her life and was constantly chasing Southern Housing Group, the new landlords.

The new Parkside Estate is of mixed tenancy, but thanks to Sharon’s open-hearted and unifying approach there have been no tensions between the tenants, part-buy residents, and leaseholders.

As well as being kind and caring, Sharon was great fun to be with. She had a ready smile, and a catalogue of funny anecdotes.

She also had a formidable singing voice, and when called on to do her party piece she would belt out Crazy by Patsy Cline to everyone’s delight.

For more than 25 years she played a key role at the Goodinge Community Centre where she was the secretary and was involved in social events, lunch clubs for the elderly, drama and seaside outings for kids.

As a single mother of two, Joanne and James, she also felt committed to helping women in trouble, and supported the work of a local women’s refuge.

She is survived by her three granddaughters Summer, Emily and new-born Marina as well as her younger sister Debbie and nephews Sam and Matt.

James said: “Mum was there for anybody that needed help, she was like a mother figure for a lot of people. I miss her already.”

The family has set up a crowdfunder to help them pay for the costs of the funeral, which will be held on June 29. To donate go to www.gofundme.com/f/sharon-jobe-funeral-fund

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