A Whitehaven am dram star and member of the family behind a popular fish and chip shop has died at the age of 90.

Dolores Coan was born to parents Joseph and Mary Peeney on February 4, 1928 in the premises of the family-run Market Place chippy in Whitehaven, which the couple had taken over from Mr Peeney’s mother.

She was the third of four Peeney sisters alongside Louisa, Mary and Joan.

In childhood, the young Dolores’ time was split between Whitehaven, Blackpool, where the family had another shop, and Italy, where her ancestors were from.

When she reached adulthood, she worked in the family business.

A keen performer, she appeared on Border TV talent show Cock of the Border with her sister Joan in 1963, reaching the final.

Many people commented that they were robbed of the top spot in the contest for their song and dance routine.

She was a member of Whitehaven Theatre Group and other amateur dramatics groups, and often took on the role of principle boy to act, dance and sing in their shows.

She remained working in the family business until she married Jack Coan, a primary school teacher, in 1967.

The pair shared a love of amateur dramatics and performed together.

Mr and Mrs Coan welcomed their first baby, son John, in 1968, and he was followed by their daughter Melinda in 1970.

Mrs Coan’s time was focused on caring for her family.

Once both children had moved on to secondary school, Mrs Coan took a new job at Whitehaven’s tourist information centre, where she enjoyed working and remained until her retirement.

She was widowed in 1998.

Her daughter, Melinda McNicholas, said: “Whenever Mum was in town people talked about the shop. Even now if you go into Whitehaven people remember it.

“Somebody said Dolores was lucky to be born into such a family and Whitehaven was lucky to have such a family move into the town and share their gifts and talents.”

Mrs Coan died at the West Cumberland Hospital on Christmas Day.

She had been diagnosed with cancer a year earlier.

Her funeral was held at St Begh’s Church in Whitehaven on January 7. The service was attended by around 300 people, and Whitehaven Male Voice Choir sang.

Paying tribute to her mum, Melinda said: “She was fun.

“She was 90 but she always defied her age. She was ao young at heart.

“She was kind, funny and generous, and she was loved by so many people.

“She was in her 40s when we were born so we were brought up by pre-war parents with very strong values and principles.

“She was a funny mum yet she still taught us very strong morals.”

John added: “She was modest and gentle.”

Mrs Coan is survived by two of her three sisters, Louisa, 94, who now lives in Cheshire, and Joan, 88, who remains living in Whitehaven, son John, daughter Melinda and grandchildren Jack and Lilly. Mary died about 20 years ago.

Donations are being collected in her memory for Hospice at Home West Cumbria, as the charity supported her and her family in her final months.

They can be made via Eaves Funeral Service Ltd, 175-177 High Road, Whitehaven, CA28 9HA.