A Tribute to Michelle Hetherington

Michelle Hetherington

The team at PNE are very sad to share the news that Michelle Hetherington, Manager of North East Workspace, passed away at the beginning of the year. Michelle was a long-standing friend and colleague and will be greatly missed by all of the staff, as well as the hundreds of tenants she worked with over the decades.

Richard Clark, who worked closely with Michelle for over thirty years, has put together some reflections on her and her time with the PNE.

Just before Christmas we were sitting in the office talking about what to do for the 30th birthday of North East Workspace in March 2020. There was just Michelle and myself left working from those who had started the journey in 1990. We talked about people who had been on that journey, which had seen a modest initial investment of £40,000 grow into today’s empire with a value of over £4,000,000. But that was largely irrelevant – it was not the mission, it just happened. The real enjoyment had been all the businesses we had housed, some failed, some just stayed the same, but many grew; some became millionaires. It had been a remarkable journey at Pink Lane and so to return after the New Year to the news that Michelle had passed away was a shock, one I am still trying to come to terms with.  

Michelle’s death has brought a great amount of sadness to us all, but it is time to reflect on her contribution to PNE and North East Workspace:

  1. Michelle has been a key player in the growth of North East Workspace from a £40,000 start-up to a substantial organisation over a 30-year period. She also made a substantial contribution to PNE loans and economic development consultancy over the years.
  1. More importantly to her, she had seen a lot of people make a go of self-employment and build big businesses; she was always very fond of her original Low Friar Street gang.
  1. She developed a passion for Minis, and some rather unusual stickers, ‘ex-husband in boot’ being her favourite.
  1. When PNE gave me a credit card for £50,000 I gave it to Michelle as I trusted her more than I trust myself.
  1. Dogs were very important to her and a large part of her life was spent walking them. She introduced a policy that well-behaved dogs were welcome at North East Workspace premises.
  1. She loved giving salesmen a hard time and was a ruthless purchaser, as she was a checker of invoices. Lo and behold anyone who tried it on.
  1. The girls in Greggs all know her, as after an early morning dog walk, she was quite fond of a bacon sandwich and coffee.
  1. She ran the EuroMillions syndicate rather unsuccessfully, with a proper agreement. Hopefully she will now be able to fix a win for us.

It’s not going to be the same without that Mini driving into the car park at 9.15 each morning.