Ethel was a ‘friend to everyone’

Ethel Atkinson
Ethel Atkinson

A heartfelt tribute has been paid to a 94-year-old Whitby woman who has been described by her family as a “friend to everyone.”

Ethel Atkinson died peacefully in Peregrine House on 12 April.

She as born in Horbury near Wakefield and brought up in Morley. On leaving school she trained as a short hand typist.

She met her husband Gilbert, an engineer, through amateur dramatics in the local Friends Adult School and in 1940 they married moving to Yeadon, near Leeds, where they had three children.

Following retirement, the couple moved to Whitby in 1981 and became active members of the community including being church elders at Flowergate United Reformed Church where they were both church elders, with Ethel acting as a mentor to some younger members of the congregation. The couple were also well-known as lay preachers in the district.

Ethel’s love of singing continued and she was a member of several choirs, including the Caedmon Singers. She also had a love of dancing and along with Gilbert joined Millie’s dance school which later became LP Dance Centre where she had many successes and went on to train as a teacher. Her last award was the ‘Len Goodman’ award in 2010, and she was still dancing actively until the middle of last year.

Her daughter Margaret Hammond said her mum was a ‘remarkable’ lady. “Throughout her life, she gave freely of her time, knowledge and experience with no expectation of anything in return,” she said. “She was a friend to everyone, always willing to listen and left a lasting impression on anyone and everyone she met. Her biggest love was her family, Gilbert, the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She enjoyed nothing more than having them to stay and spending time with them, on the beach, barbeques in the garden or simply listening and enjoying their company.”