Tribute to Brompton-by-Sawdon stalwart Belinda Evans

Gazette & Herald: Tribute to Brompton-by-Sawdon stalwart Belinda Evans Tribute to Brompton-by-Sawdon stalwart Belinda Evans

A STALWART of village life and charity work, Mrs Belinda Evans, who has died at the age of 73,was the great,great, great grand-daughter of the aviation pioneer, Sir George Cayley, and one of the famous seven daughters of Sir Kenelm and Lady Cayley of Brompton-by-Sawdon near Scarborough.

Born in 1940, was the fourth of the daughters and grew up in the village which for generations was owned by the family estate. After attending Hillside School in Scarborough and later Queen Ethelburgas College, Boroughbridge, she studied at a secretarial college in London, worked at the Medici Galleries before joining the East African Tourist Office in Trafalgar Square.

It was while living in London with one of her sisters, Virginia, now Lady Storey, that she was to meet her husband, Mark, and the couple married in 1962, and had three children, Nicolas (correct), Amanda and Alex.

Mrs Evans' many interests included the Riding for the Disabled Charity with which she was involved for some 20 years, working from the Knightsbridge Barracks in London, and she also played a key part in the Distressed Gentlefolks Association, now known as Elizabeth Finn Care, a national charity which gives direct financial support to individuals in need, and helps millions more to gain access to the money available to them in welfare benefits and charitable grants.

She eventually became the national chairman of its committee.

The family returned to Mrs Evans' childhood home in Brompton, living at The Manor House following the death of Lady Cayley, and she quickly became involved in a catalogue of village activities and organisations, not least the parish church of All Saints, Brompton-by-Sawdon Cricket Club, and took up game shooting after the family bought farmland at nearby Wydale, and says Mark, she became a most competent shot.

She was anxious that the village's history as the place where the first aircraft was flown thanks to Sir George, the 6th Baronet, and where the poet William Wordsworth was married, should be recognised for future generations.

As a result a major celebration of the aviation pioneer's success was marked in 2003 with the building and flying of a replica of the original aircraft by Sir Richard Branson, watched by a 3,000 strong crowd in the very valley, Brompton Dale, where Cayley's coachman had flown it. Then, Mrs Evans was to be involved in the celebration of Wordsworth's life in a festival which attracted major interest nationally.

Her life took on another dimension when she acted as her husband's consort in 2002-03 when he was High Sheriff of North Yorkshire.

In a tribute from the family, Mr Evans said: "Belinda was a great lover of the countryside and village life. She was terribly fond of flowers, especially wild varieties, and of her dogs, but she was also a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother who just enjoyed meeting and being with people, especially when they needed help.Belinda was a lady with an infectious personality and a wonderful sense of humour."

Mrs Evans' funeral will be held at All Saints, Brompton-by-Sawdon on Friday May 2 at 12 noon, followed by interment in the family section of the graveyard.

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