One of Teesside’s most influential business leaders, Prof Jane Turner, has died.
Teesside University, where Jane was Pro Vice-Chancellor, said she was much-loved, respected and valued.
A statement said “Jane was was a true inspiration and a supportive, generous and dedicated colleague and friend.
“She dedicated her career to improving the lives and fortunes of people across the North East, especially in challenging gender inequality and supporting young girls to reach their potential.
“She leaves a lasting legacy and the University will continue to drive forward the work she initiated, in her memory.”
Prof Turner, who died peacefully at home with her family after a brave battle with ovarian cancer, was responsible for the enterprise and business engagement strategy at Teesside University. She was awarded an OBE in 2017 for her services to business, and features in the Northern Power Women List.
She was hugely popular across the region and known for her passion fighting for investment and equality and for her inspiring courage in speaking so freely about the late stage 4A ovarian cancer she was fighting.
She was a key driver for the National Horizons Centre on the university’s Darlington campus as well as Digital City and was responsible for a network of strategic partnerships.
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “Jane was a leading light at Teesside University and a true champion for Teesside, it’s students, our businesses and our communities.
“She was a great a source of advice and support to me in my role as Mayor, as I know she was to many others who she mentored. We have lost one of our brightest stars and her loss will be deeply felt by the region and my thoughts are with her family at this very difficult time.”
James Ramsbotham, chief executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “Professor Jane Turner has been an absolute inspiration in so many ways, not only with her work at Northumbria and Teesside Universities, but in the way she had coped with her own health issues in recent times. She dedicated her life to helping others and there are so many people who owe her more than they will ever know.”
Founder & CEO of the Northern Power Women, Simone Roche said: “The strength of her character and the conviction with which she met challenges is something that will stay with us all. If at any point in the future we are faced with the question ‘what would Jane do?’, we all know that Jane would make the decision driven by kindness, empathy and compassion.
“For the last four years, Jane didn’t know how much time she had left. Regardless, she dedicated this time to creating as much positive and lasting change as she could, both in her role at Teesside University, and with her work for the Power of Women campaign.”
Jane’s family have asked that any wishing to do so should make a donation to the Power of Women campaign, which works to elevate young women and girls in the North East.
Among other tributes, Prof Debra Humphris, Vice Chancellor at the University of Brighton said: “Jane was an amazing and inspirational colleague, such a loss – we should remember her amazing contribution to Teesside University and the wider region.”
Angela Lockwood, Chief Executive of North Star Housing, said: “No words really can sum up how much her loss will be felt by many. Beautiful inside and out, and hugely influential particularly on gender issues. We need to keep her passion alive in whatever way we can. Thoughts are with her family. I will miss her greatly.”
Mark Kenrick, NEPIC Chair, added:
“Jane will be sorely missed not only by her immediate family and friends but by the wider business community that she came into contact with over many years. She was a fantastic advocate of local business, diversity, developing individuals and the area and, on behalf of the process sector in the North East of England, I’d like to express our condolences to her family, friends and colleagues. I am positive her legacy, and hence her spirit, will live on for many years to come.”