Helen Blamires Sugden has been known as a ‘force for good’ for many years.
There were few organisations in Huddersfield which the 98-year-old did not join so great was her sense of public-spiritedness.
She was the eldest child of Dr James and Mrs Emma Raffan of Gledholt and was educated at Waverley School, Huddersfield, and Queen Anne’s Caversham.
After studying Domestic Science for three years at the Yorkshire Training College of Housecraft she gained a Diploma in Teaching and taught at Idle, Bradford, from 1939-1941 teaching cookery, including wartime recipes.
She married John Bairstow Sugden in February 1941 and moved to Buxton where he was stationed with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment before returning to Huddersfield when he was then posted to India and Burma in May 1942.
During the war she was an ambulance driver and cared for her eldest son, Robert. John was appointed a major in the 3rd Indian Regiment and was involved in the Siege of Imphal, only returning in October 1945 when he saw his son for the first time.
The family lived at Berry Brow until 1965. Helen was the founder of the Newsome and Berry Brow branch of the NSPCC and secretary for 20 years and chairwoman for more than five.
Mrs Sugden was a keen guider and was district secretary of the Girl Guides in Huddersfield. She was president of the Ramsden Trefoil Guild and vice-president of the Yorkshire West Riding South Girl Guides and a member of the local association.
She was involved in other organisations and charities and was on the Huddersfield Executive Council of the Health Service and was involved in the WRVS and Mothers Union.
She was treasurer of the Huddersfield Women’s Luncheon Club, becoming president in its Jubilee year in 1974 and later became an honorary member.
Mrs Sugden was a Kirklees councillor for three years from 1976, representing the Crosland Moor, Lockwood and Netherton Ward.
In 1965 the family moved to Netherton and later to Almondbury following the sudden death of John in 1971.
Mrs Sugden was much involved with sporting organisations. In her younger days she represented Yorkshire at tennis, winning numerous trophies and also Huddersfield Lawn Tennis and Squash Club where she was the first Lady President from 1971-1974.
After retiring from tennis she took up golf and joined Huddersfield Golf Club at Fixby in 1958 and was Lady Captain in 1969 and latterly was made an honorary member.
She regularly attended the club even when no longer was able to play enjoying Bridge and other social occasions with gusto until her eyesight and health made this more difficult.
In later life she enjoyed bowls at Longley Bowling Club and walked regularly with the Huddersfield Healthy Life Ramblers where she had been president. She was also a keen gardener.
She was a member of Holy Trinity Church near Greenhead Park for more than 70 years, involving herself with all aspects of church life and her faith meant a lot to her throughout her life as she delivered compassion, humanity and friendliness to all she met and could empathise with young and old alike.
Above all, family was so important to her. She was devoted to her sons, Robert, James, Andrew and Tim who sadly died in 2008. She also adored her 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, the last born on June 19, the week before she died. She was pleased to know of his safe arrival.
Mrs Sugden was much loved by all her family and indeed all who came to know her. She loved being in company, ever willing to help with practical advice, common sense and humour. She lived life to the full, always putting others first with her unassuming manner.
Her funeral will take place at Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Huddersfield at 11.30am on Thursday, July 20 which would have been her 99th birthday.