A popular Penrith businesswoman, who ran a salon in the town for almost 40 years, has died aged 65.
Pamela Dixon set up Pamela’s Hair Design in the mid-80s and grew into a large salon, most recently having 18 stylists working at its Queen Street base.
The success of the business flew in the face of the challenges 65-year-old Pamela overcame, having been born deaf.
She never let her deafness hold her back and has been described by her family as “fiercely independent” along with being an inspirational lady whose smile and laugh was infectious.
Born on October 12, 1955, Pamela’s parents were Joseph and Hilda Robson who were both hairdressers and established the family business Robsons Hair Salon, in King Street, Penrith.
The salon still operates today and is run by Pamela’s older brother John and his wife Amanda.
Growing up the family lived in Carleton, Penrith, before moving to Tirril in the early 80s.
Pamela went to a specialist deaf boarding school, Park Field in Southport and then to the secondary Birkdale specialist school.
Aged 16, she moved home and immediately took up the family trade going to work at Robson’s as an apprentice alongside her parents and brother.
When Pamela was in her 20s her father died and the salon was taken over by her brother, while Pamela kept the family home in Tirril.
She later moved to Laburnum Way in Penrith.
She decided to branch out with her own business and set up Pamela’s Hair Design with a salon opposite Penrith Town Hall.
At that time there were only two to three stylists working there, but over the years the business grew.
By the late 80s the salon had moved to new premises in Castlegate and expanded the number of stylists working there.
The big move came in 2006 when Pamela bought out the former Millican’s hairdressers and, along with taking over their base in Queen Street, she also took on their staff.
Pamela’s daughter, Stephanie Stamper, said her mother was very proud of her business and loved her work.
She refused to let her deafness stop her and the only thing it prevented her from doing was phone calls, which she employed staff to cover.
Stephanie, who was born in 1991, worked alongside her mother for the past seven years and will continue to run Pamela’s Hair Design.
Married to Teddy, they have two children — three-year-old Charlie and Ralph, aged eight months.
For the past 15 years Pamela was engaged to be married to Dave Varrie who she lived with at Laburnum Way.
The couple had dated as teenagers when they both went to the specialist school in Southport and reconnected at a school reunion 18 years ago.
Pamela loved the sun and the couple enjoyed many holidays together while Pamela also loved socialising with friends and looking after her grandsons.
In April 2020, she was diagnosed with bowel cancer and underwent an operation and chemotherapy.
Doctors informed her it was incurable in October and, despite beginning a second course of chemotherapy in December, she became too unwell to continue.
Five weeks ago Pamela went to stay at her daughter’s home in Penrith. In the last week of her life she deteriorated quickly and remained at Stephanie’s home where she was supported by Hospice at Home nurses.
She died on Tuesday February 23, and the funeral took place last week at St Andrew’s Church, Penrith, with Walkers Funeral Directors, having care of arrangements.
In Pamela’s memory, a page has been set up on the Much Loved website where donations can be made in her memory to Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland.
More than £4,300 has already been donated.