Hazel Wigmore, a pioneering figure in improving the lives of children, has died aged 84 at her home in Huddersfield.
She was an indomitable figure whose life was spent trying to improve the lives of children, young people, adults, older people and families most in need.
Hazel was a founder member, along with the late Brian Jackson and John Cashman, of the National Children’s Centre, recently renamed the Yorkshire Children’s Centre, in 1974 based at Brian Jackson House, Huddersfield.
The charity was set up in 1975 by Mr Jackson, a sociologist who cared passionately about the care of children.
It developed a national reputation because the work there was ground-breaking and was adopted across the country.
Helen Orlic, acting chief executive of the Yorkshire Children’s Centre, based in New North Parade, said: “She died peacefully at home with her daughter and son-in-law present.
“Hazel was our chief executive for over 25 years and despite ‘retiring’ with us she continued to be a force of nature championing and leading many local groups and causes.”
She said John and Hazel’s innovative ideas “continue to influence the themes and scope of services which form the basis of our organisation today.
“Hazel would have been 85 next week and last week she told us she had no regrets and had no bucket list as she had done it all!
“She will be missed by many people and we would like to take the opportunity to share our condolences and celebrate her life and her achievements and not least give our thanks for founding our amazing organisation.”
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, who had known her since 1978, was fulsome in his praise of Hazel. He said she was a formidable operator whose aura demanded an immediate respect.
He said: “She was a natural force for good. She was a national figure from an indomitable breed of women of her generation.
“You didn’t mess with that generation. She was a tower of strength. I always made sure I attended her meetings!
“Her memory will certainly live on.”
Hazel was married to Colin Wigmore who worked as chief architect at Kirklees Council and who won a European Award for a housing development at Springwood.
The couple got married in 1952 at New North Road Baptist Church, Huddersfield. Colin died in 2012.