Tributes paid to ‘vivacious’ former Ripon Mayoress

John and Barbara Richmond. (1203034AM11)
John and Barbara Richmond. (1203034AM11)

The former Mayoress of Ripon, Barbara Richmond, has died peacefully at the age of 77 in Ripon Community Hospital.

Mrs Richmond, who was married to former Mayor of Ripon and Deputy Hornblower John Richmond, had an operation to remove a cancer tumour in her breast last year, but the cancer returned in March and spread to her liver. She died on the morning of Monday, July 15.

Talking to the Gazette, Mr Richmond said his wife had been a “very, very vivacious young woman” and a “devoted nurse and mother”. The couple, who had been married for 55 years and were Mayor and Mayoress of the city from 1975-76, have two children together, Paul and Anita, and four grandchildren, Robert, Adam, Emma and Emily.

Mrs Richmond started working as a nurse when she was just 16-years-old and went on to specialise in operating theatre work.

It was while having an operation in Harrogate District Hospital in 1958 that Mr Richmond first met his future wife.

They married just months later.

Mr Richmond said throughout her decades of caring for others – including working as a school nurse at Greystone Community Primary School, volunteering for Ripon charity Middle of the Road, setting up a cancer committee in the 1970s and working in a maternity ward – Mrs Richmond was “absolutely loved by patients”.

“She was always happy if she was either nursing or among children,” he said.

“She was exceptional.”

And some of Mr Richmond’s fondest memories of his wife are from when the couple ran a bed and breakfast – Nordale – on North Road, opposite Ripon Police Station.

“We used to get a call from the coppers saying, ‘We’ve got two prisoners in!’ So we would take over a hot cooked breakfast for whoever was in the cells as the station didn’t have cooking facilities.

“The prisoners used to think it was marvellous!” he said.

In tribute to their friend and grandmother, Mrs Richmond’s former colleague Jean Denny will read a eulogy, and grandson Robert, 26, will play the Finlandia hymn on the organ, at the Allhallowgate Methodist Church funeral service on Monday, July 22.

“The grandchildren were totally the apple of her eye,” added Mr Richmond.