Tributes have been paid to North Wales’s “Queen of Care” who has died at the age of 73 after a short illness.

Mildred Heyward, from Leeswood, in Flintshire retired in 2013 after 10 years working for the Pendine Park care organisation.

The funeral service will be at the English Methodist Church in Leeswood at 12.15pm on Tuesday, April 26, and later at the Pentrebychan Crematorium near Wrexham.

The family have asked mourners to wear purple for the funeral because it was Mildred’s favourite colour.

Her interest in nursing began as a girl growing up in the village of Cefn y Bedd, and she joined the Red Cross, working as a volunteer at Wrexham’s Maelor Hospital.

She then started a pre-training course at Denbighshire Technical College and worked as a cadet at Chester Royal Infirmary and Wrexham’s War Memorial Hospital before completing her training in 1963.

After retiring from the NHS, Mildred was in charge of the nursing unit at Nazareth House which was taken over by Pendine Park

She leaves her husband, Don, and their daughter, Jane Lucy, who is the lead nurse in the renal unit at the Maelor Hospital, in Wrexham.

At her retirement party in 2013, Mildred said: “I am very lucky because I have had a wonderful career.

“I enjoyed the way I was trained and brought up in nursing and those values have stood me in good stead.

“I was made head of department for Ear, Nose and Throat and then Opthalmology and ended my time at the Maelor Hospital as Bed Manager for the whole hospital.

“I gained a great deal of experience which I brought when I came to work in social care.”

Among those who paid tribute to Mildred was Lesley Griffiths the Wrexham Welsh Labour candidate for the Assembly who is also the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty.

“I was deeply saddened to hear that Mildred has passed away. She was a wonderful woman and a fantastic role model to generations of nurses

“In 1980 Mildred was the Sister in the ENT department and I was a medical secretary in the eye department.

“In those days I was terrified of her and I would never have called her Mildred but she was known throughout the hospital as being a very caring person who ensured her patients were always extremely well cared for.

“She transferred those skills into the social care sector and she was somebody I admired greatly and counted as a real friend.

Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft MBE was also fulsome in his praise for Mildred.

He said: “My sincere condolences go to the family in their loss. Mildred will also be greatly missed by her many friends, former colleagues, residents and relatives who have a huge store of happy memories of her.

“She really was one in a million – and a unique Queen of Care. To devote more than half a century to looking after the public is something very special.

“Mildred had the X-Factor that engendered connection and a feeling of trust – and she did really care.”