A woman who was a hair stylist in Huddersfield for more than 40 years has died.
Mrs Lilian Armitage, 78, was hailed as a woman who was forever giving of her help, guidance and kindness.
Her laughter was infectious and could turn any disaster or crisis into a resolvable situation.
Born in the winter of 1934, Lilian (nee Hepworth) was the first of six daughters to father George Hepworth and mother Ada.
Lil, as she was known to all, was a pupil at The Parish Church School in Venn Street. In 1949, aged 15, she started work as an apprentice at Mimi’s Hairstylists in King Street, eagerly learning the trade under the watchful eyes of Miss Grey.
She later managed Sylvia’s Salon in Aspley.
She met her future husband, Tony Armitage who shared the passion of competition ballroom dancing and together they won many trophies.
They were married on February 19, 1955 and shortly after opened her own, highly successful salon in Wakefield Road, Aspley, opposite Shaw’s Pickles factory.
The first of her four sons, Paul, was born in 1956 but as the other three sons – Mark, Ian and Andrew – arrived the family was served with a short notice compulsory purchase order to make room for the present dual carriageway.
With only weeks to find a new home they somehow managed to obtain a large delightful end terrace house, just 300 yards away in Somerset Road, which was perfect for their needs.
Lil set up Lilian’s in the ground floor rooms with its garden entrance where she attracted a wide range of clients from all parts of Huddersfield.
In the 60s a devastating car accident took the lives of Lil’s mother Ada, and twin sisters, Mary and Vera, and not long afterwards saw the death of her father and much respected businessman and mill owner, George Hepworth.
After 40 years in the trade, Lil decided to retire from hairdressing saying ‘her eyes were not as good as they were’, but it was only at a large gathering of family and friends she astounded everyone present by announcing that from the age of six she had been blind in one eye.
She worked voluntarily for 10 years in Longley School, helping children with reading difficulties – despite being dyslexic herself.
After her husband’s death, she worked at St Peter’s Church and then shared her compassion and a listening ear with residents at Kirklees Hospice where, for many years she trimmed and styled hair.
She also helped out as a volunteer in the cancer ward at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Her funeral service held at The Parish Church last month was attended by over 300 family and friends and the Rev Simon Moor spoke at length about the remarkable charity work she undertook and of an ‘ever giving’ lady who brought cheer and happiness to all of those she met.