Alex Shirley

October  3rd, 1970 March  19th, 2024
Alex Shirley

Alex was an inspirational, intelligent, enthusiastic and committed person who was an absolute pleasure to work with on a daily basis. She never complained, always had a positive outlook and when she set her mind to things anything became possible. 

Remembering Alex

Alex was an inspirational, intelligent, enthusiastic, and committed person who was an absolute pleasure to work with on a daily basis. She never complained, always had a positive outlook and when she set her mind to things anything became possible. Alex is without question one of the main reasons Changing Lives is the charity it is today, her drive and determination helped shape the charity and ensure that although we grew, we always remained committed to helping those that needed our support.

Alex joined us after becoming disillusioned with her career as a scientist and she has held a variety of roles within Changing Lives starting as a sessional worker, moving onto a support worker role, drugs worker, Social Inclusion Co-Ordinator , Virginia House Manager, Manager of Durham & Middlesbrough, Assistant Director and then with the Exec team as the Director of Business Development.

I have no doubt Alex a former Oxford graduate could have worked anywhere she wanted, but she had an unrivalled desire to see the good in people and help then change their lives. Her achievements for us are too many to list, be that building transformations, new business development, leading on merger activity, partnership building and an integral part of the executive team. Her legacy and friendships that she created will last forever and we will ensure that we won’t ever forget Alex nor the role she has played in the history of the charity. We appreciate that this news will impact on a lot of staff in different ways, because they knew Alex or they may have lost someone close recently, please talk to colleagues and please remember that all staff do have the use of a counsellor through the EAP.

We need to celebrate this lady’s wonderful life and career with Changing Lives, and we want any staff who knew Alex to share experiences in a book of condolences here which will be given to her family.

Alex leaves behind a young family and our thoughts and prayers are with them. I will always remember Alex fondly and I will never forget everything she has done for us and for myself personally, she was a one off, a shining star , a truly remarkable person and somebody who was Changing Lives through and through, sleep easy Ginge we won’t forget you.

Words by Stephen Bell.


Please share your memories below

Post your condolences or share your Memories.

April 9, 2024
I worked with Alex on the refurbishment of Elliott House during the covid lockdown and her enthusiasm, leadership and bubbly personality inspired me and anyone that came into contact with her to carry on through those dark days and the result is clear to see in the now renamed 1-4 Bentinck Terrace.
April 5, 2024
Alex was such an amazing colleague. She always had time to say hello to you. She was a force to be reckoned with and I loved it if I was on a working group with her as you knew things would happen. God bless you Alex, your impact was massive and you always wanted improvement
Lynn Crawford
April 4, 2024
I was absolutely devastated to learn of Alex’s passing. When thinking of something to write, words fail me as I cannot think of anything to say that could ever truly do her justice. To know Alex was to respect her, and to be in awe of her unstoppable and incomparable creativity. She was an incredibly special person.

I will be forever grateful to Alex for giving me the job at Changing Lives and for the profound impact she had on me. Thoughts and prayers are with her family, and with her colleagues at her beloved Changing Lives ❤️
Olivia Downs
April 4, 2024
An amazing person to work with, the only problem was trying to say no to any of Alex's ideas because everything was possible and she was able to persuade you it was too such was her passion and energy! If anyone could build Rome in a day it would be Alex!!! An inspirational person who will be hugely missed by all at Changing Lives. Thoughts are with all of Alex's family.
Lewis Murton
April 3, 2024
This is incredibly sad news.

Alex was an incredible woman.

I have very fond memories of when we first worked together at Virginia House back in 2004.

Holding her family, friends and colleagues in my heart ❤️
Claire Robinson
April 3, 2024
I'm so sorry to hear such sad news, Alex was always such a joy to work with bringing such enthusiasm and passion to all of the Changing Lives projects and such a lovely person to spend time with, sending my love to the family and all at Changing Lives
Alison Thornton-Sykes
April 3, 2024
I’m so sorry to read this. Alex was an incredible person and my thoughts are with her family ❤️ and colleagues at Changing Lives. She really was a driving force xx
Megan Jones
April 3, 2024
So so sorry to hear this, Alex was great, had many dealings with Alex and her enthusiasm always shone through. Thoughts are with her family and friends ❤️
Sean Nicholson
April 3, 2024
So sorry to hear this. I had the pleasure of working with Alex on the redevelopment of Elliott House. She was a lovely, caring and committed lady. Sending thoughts to her family and friends
Gill Lawson
April 3, 2024
This is such sad news, Alex was one of the kindest souls and a real source of comfort at a time when we needed it most at The Toby Henderson Trust.
Lynda Richardson
April 3, 2024
Such sad news. Alex had such an infectious positive energy. My thoughts are with her family, friends and everyone that worked with her at Changing Lives.
Laura Richards
April 3, 2024
So very sad to hear this. Alex was a wonderful woman. She brought such energy and positivity to everything she did, it was an absolute pleasure to work with her. Sending love to all her family friends and colleagues at Changing Lives
Faye Greason
April 3, 2024
So incredibly sad to hear this news but so grateful I got to meet Alex. My heart goes out to all her family, friends and her team. ❤️
Sharon Wilson
April 3, 2024
I was sad when I heard this. Alex was a wonderful woman, she was so welcoming and friendly when I first started at Changing Lives and her enthusiasm was infectious. Rest easy Alex xxx
Beverley Hunter McEwan
April 3, 2024
This is such terribly sad news. Alex was such a great person to work with and had such a kind-hearted and passionate fire about her! What an immense loss. A well fought battle Alex, finally at peace. Sending love to you all at Changing Lives x
Zoe T
April 3, 2024
Sending love to all Alex’s family and friends. So glad to have shared a little bit of time working with Alex. She was SO good at what she did, very few people as talented, compassionate, and could get things done. A huge legacy to be proud off but you will be so missed Alex 💚
Pat McArdle
April 3, 2024
Profoundly unique, kind and caring - you'll be missed by everyone
Lesley Telford
April 3, 2024
Such sad news, what a woman , the excitement she showed with any project. She will be a huge miss. Thoughts are with her family , friends and colleagues x
Lynn Hall
April 3, 2024
Awful news - sending much love to her family, friends and colleagues. Alex was brilliant to work with. Her warmth, energy and commitment to the work of Changing Lives was always so evident. Alex also gave me much personal encouragement and her focus on social justice and on services doing better for those they support was always inspiring (and it will continue to be)
Luke O'Neil
April 3, 2024
This is such sad news, Alex was an inspiration and a wonderful woman who cared passionately about Changing Lives and the work that she did. She fought her battle long and hard with a smile and a positive attitude always selflessly thinking first about the impact it was having on her family. She has imprinted on so many and will be forever remembered. My thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues this evening.
Laura Athey Dobbs
April 3, 2024
Absolutely devastated what a beautiful woman she was! So glad I had the pleasure of working with her ❤️ RIP Alex xxxx
Claire McCardle
April 3, 2024
Alex was a lovely woman inside and out. Condolences to Alex’s family, friends and all of her co workers x
Suzanne Greenhill
April 3, 2024
Such sad news she was an inspiration to everyone she came into contact with 💔💔💔
Ruth Wilson
April 3, 2024
A lovely, happy, kind and positive person. So sad to hear this. Condolences to family and friends xx
Heather Patterson
April 3, 2024
Very sad news my thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends. She was a truly amazing woman.
Kay Duffie
April 3, 2024
So sad, Alex was one of the most genuine people I have ever met. Condolences to her family and friends and those who’s lives she touched
Margaret Maitland
April 3, 2024
She really was one of a kind, beautiful inside and out. Having her as a boss was so inspiring, she was so passionate about everything and everybody. I can’t believe her raucous laughter has been silenced. You fought so ferociously, rest well dear Alex. Sending my love to your family xxx
Ruth Robson
April 3, 2024
I’m deeply saddened by this news. I worked with Alex, around 2011, on implementing assertive outreach to street homeless people in Middlesbrough. She was an absolute force of nature in her passion to make a difference to the most vulnerable and excluded. She will be remembered well x
Sharon Caddell
April 3, 2024
Such Sad News. Alex was such a lovely positive bubbly person. Passionate about her work. Alex will be a huge miss. RIP Alex. X
Susan Southeran
April 3, 2024
Such sad news to read. Alex was a wonderful, warm and generous person. Positive, smiling and super smart. I loved working with Alex. I’m sure she’ll be missed by all who knew her. She left a big impression on me. Sending all my love and condolences to you all and to Alex’s friend and family. ❤️ xxx
Stephanie Whitehead
April 3, 2024
Such sad news, Alex was a wonderful person and inspirational woman, much love to her family and friends xxx
Amanda Brown
April 3, 2024
Very sad to hear this. I will never forget Alex’s optimism, compassion and belief in recovery, rehabilitation and the power of hope.
Matt Fowler
April 3, 2024
Such sad news Alex was always full of enthusiasm and dedication which rubbed off on colleagues myself included and she had such passion in her work for the charity. She will be sadly missed by many people who had the pleasure of working alongside Alex rip ❤️‍🩹
Ray Tatters
April 3, 2024
So very sad, such a great loss. Alex was an inspirational woman, condolences to her family and friends 🧡
Jacki Murphy
April 3, 2024
So sorry to hear this sad news, lovely lady and a pleasure to work with 🥺🩵
Ian McLean
April 3, 2024
I am so sorry to read this sad news. Alex was brilliant-and a great help to me when I was a Board member. Condolences to Alex’s family, friends and colleagues.
Catherine Hearne
April 3, 2024
This is so sad to hear. Alex was amazing to work with! Condolences to her family and friends.
David Simpson
April 3, 2024
So sorry to read this. Alex was an inspiration to work alongside. Sending condolences to her colleagues, friends and family
Melanie Armstrong
April 3, 2024
Heartbreaking news. Alex was one of the kindest most amazing people I’ve met. She was always so passionate, positive and never stopped smiling. My thoughts are with her family and friends xx💔
Lynn Smith
April 3, 2024
Ah this is very sad to read. Alex was a lovely person and a great colleague. Always had time for you no matter how busy she was. Sending love to all her family and friends 💗
Elyshia Bryan
April 3, 2024
So very sad one of the nicest ladies I have ever met I have very fond memories of the support she gave me personally thinking of her family and friends. ♥️
Elizabeth Rutter
April 3, 2024
Lovely colleague/friend sending love and hugs to all her family will be dearly missed sleep tight Alex ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Sheena Siddon
April 3, 2024
What an amazing person and what a positive imact on the lives of others. Such sad sad news. love and light to family and friends xx
Anna White
April 3, 2024
Very very sad, Alex was a sparkling lady… passionate and kind.. my thoughts are with her family at this very sad time….
Karen Anne Smith
April 3, 2024
What an absolute tragedy. A wonderful woman, mother and colleague with such a zest for life. I’m glad to have had the privilege of working with her and also having some great laughs along the way. Xx ❤️
Jane Nicholson
April 3, 2024
One of the best people to work with and always so passionate and inspiring -she’s a massive miss. Love to her family and friends xxx
Philippa Gardiner
April 3, 2024
Sad sad news, I had the pleasure of working with Alex for many years. She was one of a kind.
Neil Gordon
April 3, 2024
This is such sad news. She was so lovely to work with such a lovely person. Sending love and strength to her family x x
Amy Wade
April 3, 2024
Such sad news, Alex was such a lovely, enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated lady. She will be a huge miss my thoughts and prayers to her family 💞 x
Claire Knaggs
April 3, 2024
Such sad news to read. I had the privilege of working with Alex and she was an amazing lady. Sending love and sympathy to all her family and friends xx
Ashley Woodhead
April 3, 2024
Absolutely devastated. Alex was the shining light of the organisation and the world is a poorer place without her inspiration and amazing energy. So much love to her family xxx
Laura Seebohm
April 3, 2024
So incredibly sad to hear this. I met Alex at the chemo unit and she was an inspiration to all. Her positivity, humour and intelligence shone through. My condolences to her family and friends xx
Jennifer Mordue
April 3, 2024
What a special person, the world needs people like you
John Falkland
April 3, 2024
Ahh Alex, one of the Cyrenians OG's! I have many happy memories shared with you back in the day.
I will never forget coming to you and asking for your advice on surviving Glastonbury "baby wipes and a shepee" you said!
You will forever be my favourite hippy Alex.

Keep dancing up there ✨
Luisa Alvarez
April 3, 2024
I met Alex nineteen years ago and you couldn't of met a more bubbly, nicer person.
It was Alex who gave me the chance of becoming an employee of the then Cyrenians, Alex saw beyond my poor decision making, built my confidence and brought out the best in me. I will be forever grateful to Alex for this, she made me a better person and literally changed my life.
You will be so missed.
Lee Nichol
March 29, 2024
I only met Alex once and that was just recently, but reading through these tributes is awe inspiring and I am sorry I did not know her better. What a legacy to have left the world and especially for those that were, and still will be, close to her. I am sure she will be watching over you.
They say when someone passes, they leave a loved one a gift and I am sure Alex will put her signature love, passion and energy and send something totally amazing, because that’s clearly how she lived. X
Glynis Frew
March 28, 2024
One of the first people i met at Changing Lives when we tuped over all those years ago - and knew straight away that you were a diamond (or maybe a ruby is more fitting redhead!). You helped to make that whole process so easy, and straight away I was inspired to be more like you.
You always were warm, welcoming, supportive, available and so passionate. Will be missed greatly.
What an absolute pleasure to have known you - much love to your family and friends xxx
Nicola Salt
March 27, 2024
I still giggel about our time at Linskill, and the mischievous time at Christmas get together.

Your smile would always light up the room, you dedication and support is what Changing lives stands for and will you always be a treasuered memoriy

I am so proud to have known you

Kim Andrews
March 26, 2024
Alex Shirley the heart of Changing Lives, you made the impossible possible! Further still you smiled whilst you delivered, smiled as you listened and barely could contain your excitement for several new developments we discussed over the years. You had a presence that was exciting and equally encouraging. You continued to shine despite any challenges you faced. A true inspiration! Your legacy and all the memories will be cherished by so many.

The red curly hair and cheekiest grin…
The strength of a lion who would always win!
The advocate for injustice raising the voice...
The advocate for people with limited choice.
A laugh so infectious and a soul pure and true,
A woman so respected for being just you.
Your so dearly loved and adored and rightly so
Taken too soon, we are not ready for you to go,
Fly high lovely lady, your throne is waiting above,
Your legacy remains forever and all the love.
Rest in Peace Alex
Love Always, Debra Cowey xxx

Debra Cowey
March 26, 2024
First and foremost Alex was the very best Daughter-in-law Edith and I could ever have wished for.
The Cyrenians advertised for a Construction Skills Tutor and Alex suggested I apply for the position. She had more faith in my ability to fill this role than I had myself. After some consideration I decided to apply and was accepted. I absolutely loved the role and continued for almost 3 years after my retirement age and only left after funding was stopped and the Centre had to close which was heartbreaking. Because of Alex I got to teach skills to people who would otherwise never have been given that chance to change their lives.
This was all due to a diamond of a lady with a beautiful mind.
Thank you Alex.
Malcolm Shirley
Malcolm Shirley
March 26, 2024
Alex you were a ray of sunshine, always so positive and enthusiastic. You are dearly missed.
Sending so much love to your family
Holly Curran Armstrong
March 26, 2024
What can I say about you Alex, my precious sister in law. So gifted, intelligent, studious, caring, dedicated and hard working. I remember the day I met you in the early nineties. Little did I know then that you would introduce me to your sister who is my wife of thirty years. Not only did you change lives in your charity work but also simply by knowing you, you changed mine in so many ways. Bless you xxxx
Andy Armstrong
March 26, 2024
Alex was such a beautiful, supportive inspirational lady with a heart of pure gold. I first met Alex when she had responsibility for Middlesbrough as part of her role as Assistant Director with Changing Lives, Alex lit up any room with her passion to genuinely change lives for the better. Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate that I would take over Alex' role as she progressed her journey with Changing Lives, from my very first moment with the charity and throughout my time there Alex was an amazing support, confidante and friend. I feel honored to have worked with Alex one of the most genuine people I have ever known, my love and thoughts go out to her family and friends. Rest well Alex forever in my heart xxx
Amanda Brown
March 25, 2024
Alex was such a bundle of energy and her enthusiasm and optimism knew no bounds. During my time at Changing Lives she was both my manager and my friend, we shared many deep and meaningful conversations on those occasions when we car-shared from the coast over to Team Valley - often setting the world to rights. Her passion for life and her work was infectious. She was inspirational in so many ways, both personally and professionally, and the world seems a little darker this morning as I heard of her passing. Love to her family and the Changing Lives family - she will be sorely missed. xx
Tabitha Falcus
March 25, 2024
I remember the first week I joined Changing Lives and met Alex. She blew me away with her passion with the work Changing Lives does. She welcomed me with open arms, a huge big smile and I thought straight off such an inspirational (person and I am lucky to be able to work with her. I was also very envious of her amazing Red hair). I will miss you Alex xxx
Tracey Greener
March 25, 2024
Alex - I am so grateful to have met you through my involvement in Changing Lives. You were unique in so many ways - instantly loved and admired due to your warmth and kindness. Hugely intelligent, committed and with a massive sense of responsibility to ensure we created the best care we possibly could for people who used and worked in our services. I hope you realise what a profound effect you have had on everyone's lives. Your beautiful spirit will go on and each day at Changing Lives we will ensure that whatever we do tries to reflect the legacy you have left behind. You were as bright and vibrant as your hair. Sending a massive hug to your family and I hope that Alfie continues to grow up knowing what an amazing strong and inspirational mum he had. L xxx
Lesley Telford
March 22, 2024
Around 20 years ago I first met you, Alex, at Virginia House, you had your long green waistcoat on, buzzing around the building, full of so much joy, I was instantly connected and excited to meet you.

You were working in a service that felt crazy and intense, and in all the madness you made a very challenging work environment feel like the best place to work. I wanted to work for Tyneside Cyrenians after that, and I did, thank you!

Wherever you were the energy was there, in the air like a bright shining star, and I always wanted to be around you.

I will miss you and our conversations, thank you for always deeply listening to me and being a wonderful friend. I keep hearing you laugh, and it makes me smile so much.

We will never meet another person like you, Alex, you are one of a kind, an inspirational, clever, and beautiful soul.

All my love, Laura Mc XXX
Laura McIntyre
March 22, 2024
Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure to meet Alex in person, but our chats together were always a highlight for me; so full of hope and positivity, RIP Alex, you will be missed xx
Natalie Shocklidge
March 22, 2024
Alex, the most beautiful person I have ever known. Will miss you so much. You were inspirational, caring, supportive and genuine. Knowing you for the many years I have, it has been an absolute privilege, no one will ever take your place in all our hearts. xx
Janet Mallaburn
March 22, 2024
I will miss our weekly catch ups, my work week will never be the same. You were certainly more than just a work colleague to me, always being caring and supportive. I will miss you. Sending my condolences to Alex's family and friends.
Christine Davison-Boyle
March 21, 2024
A powerhouse of a woman. Alex built people up and never tore them down. I will miss her dearly xxx
Kelly Cunningham
March 21, 2024
Your leadership and optimism will forever inspire me. You were a beautiful person inside and out and I am honoured to have worked with you. You were the first person I met as the face of Chaning Lives when I was TUPE'd here eight years ago and you made me want to stay. I looked forward to our supervision because you made everything seem exciting and I am so grateful to have been inspired by your outlook. You are leaving a huge hole behind you because you truly were one of a kind. May peace be with your family and loved ones. Sleep tight, Faye xx
Faye Sunter
March 21, 2024
So very, very sad to hear the news that you have left us, you were such a true beautiful, unique and amazing person. A true 'Cyrenian' in all aspects of work and life. My thoughts and prayers go out to all Alex's’ family and friends at this time. Slan Abhaile.
Danny Connolly
March 21, 2024
There are so many beautiful words I have to describe Alex, the lady with the bright red curly hair, bright smile and her laugh that was so infectious . It has been a pleasure to work by her side through many projects that we did together.. Her enthusiasm was electrifying and positive.. I will hold a piece of her in my heart.. Forever missed personally and in Changing Lives .. Fly with the angels xxx
LInda Armstrong
March 21, 2024
You were always the best of us Alex. I will miss you dearly my friend x
Neil Baird
March 21, 2024
Alex I don't think I've ever met another person quite like you, thank you for being my go to person, I can't tell you how much you helped me. You are a true inspiration and someone I will always strive to be like. You are already truly missed xxx
Jay Grech
March 21, 2024
Remembering you fondly from my first stint with "The Cyrenians" (back in those days), 15 years ago. You were always so warm and friendly. Thoughts with your family. Rest in Peace Alex.
Beth Clayton
March 21, 2024
Alex, you are such an inspiration. Clever, funny, beautiful inside and out. I have such fond memories of you. My heart goes out to your family. Rest easy Alex xxx
Lisa Boyack
March 21, 2024
Heartbroken to hear the news about Alex this morning. She was an inspiration to us all, her knowledge, her support, her compassion and her ability to make people smile will be missed by everyone who knew her. Sleep tight Alex.
Melanie Dunn
March 21, 2024
Our condolences from everyone at Changing Lives to all of Alex's family and friends. xxxxxx
What an inspirational women, kind, funny and a great support to all of the team here in Doncaster. I will always remember Alex with her beautiful smile and her natural ability to make everyone feel welcome and supported. Thanks Alex for been you, a great role model in todays society to be proud off.
carmelle harold

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