Doreen Lofthouse: who was the ‘mother of Fleetwood’ and founder of Fisherman’s Friend lozenges?

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The Lancashire-born philanthropist has died at the age of 91

Doreen Lofthouse who transformed the lozenge into a global brand in 1963, has died aged 91, the Blackpool Gazette reports.

As well as being one of the driving forces behind the Fisherman's Friend brand, Doreen also supported many good causes and community projects in Fleetwood.

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She donated millions of pounds through the years and was given an OBE for her charity work.

Who is Doreen Lofthouse?

Doreen Lofthouse, who was known locally as ‘The Mother of Fleetwood’ is the face behind Fisherman’s Friend.

She grew the small cough sweet business into a multi-national firm and began to spread word of the menthol and eucalyptus lozenges round the world in the 1960s.

The company now produces over five billion lozenges annually, which are sold in over 100 countries around the world.

Fleetwood icon and Fisherman's Friend founder, Dooreen Lofthouse, has died.Fleetwood icon and Fisherman's Friend founder, Dooreen Lofthouse, has died.
Fleetwood icon and Fisherman's Friend founder, Dooreen Lofthouse, has died.

How did she revolutionise the lozenge industry?

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Thanks to her entrepreneurial skills and her husband Tony Lofthouse, who died at the age of 74 in 2018, Doreen turned the once small business into a £180m empire.

In recognition of the brand's global success, Fisherman's Friend has received the Queen's Award to Industry for Export Achievement three times.

But it isn't just the business that Doreen was honoured for; she received both an OBE, MBE and was made Freeman of the Borough of Wyre for her charity work.

Doreen Lofthouse pictured unveiling a monument on Fleetwood seafront.Doreen Lofthouse pictured unveiling a monument on Fleetwood seafront.
Doreen Lofthouse pictured unveiling a monument on Fleetwood seafront.

Where is Doreen Lofthouse from?

In 1994, Doreen and her family set up 'The Lofthouse Foundation' to help refurbish Fleetwood, near Blackpool.

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This included Fleetwood Hospital, a children's playground, improvements to the promenade and part of Fleetwood's shopping centre - now named Fisherman's Walk.

In January 2015, Doreen also donated £1m to kickstart the restoration work at the pavilion in Fleetwood

The project saw key renovations to the pavilion, gardens, and railings.

Four years later, in 2019, Doreen and her family set aside another whopping £30m to help fund community projects in the town.

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Councillor Mary Stirzaker, chair of Fleetwood Town Council, said: "Mrs Lofthouse's legacy will live on in Fleetwood.

"She was an incredible benefactor for Fleetwood and was always proud of the town she came from."

How many flavours do Fisherman’s Friends sell?

Fisherman’s Friends will be known to many round-the-world for their strong-flavoured original cough sweet, which tastes of menthol and eucalyptus.

Since the 1960s, the brand has launched more flavours - some of which also feel tingly to the tongue.

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Other flavours include mint, blackcurrant, aniseed, lemon, cherry, spearmint and lemon and honey – with options for no added sugar.

Where did the cough sweet get it’s name?

Fisherman's Friend lozenges were originally developed by pharmacist James Lofthouse.

He created the cough sweet in 1865 to treat respiratory problems, which fishermen suffered from.

For the next 100 years, they were mostly unheard of outside the fishing community.

Doreen, who married Jame’s grandson, saw an opportunity in marketing them across the world – with the sweet design based on the shape of a button.