CHRISTINE Haigh, former chairman of F Drake and Co of Golcar, has died at the age of 79.
Mrs Haigh, a well-known and well-loved woman in both her professional and personal life, collapsed and died suddenly at home in Barkisland.
Over 400 mourners are expected to travel from all over the country to attend the funeral service to be held at noon tomorrow (Wednesday, February 1) at St Bartholomew’s Church, Ripponden. This will be followed by a private burial.
Born Christine Drake, Mrs Haigh’s father took on shoddy manufacturers F Drake and Co after his return from the army in 1919. She became chairman of the company in 1966.
Over the decades, Mrs Haigh and her husband Jim, a textile lecturer at the former Huddersfield Polytechnic, developed a thriving partnership. They ran F Drake’s together and founded the highly successful F Drake Fibres Ltd, based at Golcar Mill, which is the current home of Drake Extrusions Ltd.
Mrs Haigh was a director of the company. After they sold the business in 1986 they built new premises in Slaithwaite, the first textile factory to be built in the Colne Valley since World War Two.
There the couple, who lived for many years at Banks Avenue in Golcar, ran a company which made high tenacity propylene yarn until it closed in 2001.
Drake’s products were sold throughout the world and their companies twice won the Queen’s Award for Export. The second time, Mrs Haigh travelled down to London with son Joshua to be presented with the award by the Queen on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
The Drake name is now synonymous with cricket in Huddersfield as Mr and Mrs Haigh have sponsored the Huddersfield Cricket League for the last 22 years.
Mrs Haigh was also a teacher at Colne Valley High School and went on to become head of domestic science at St Gregory’s Grammar School, since incorporated into All Saints Catholic College.
Mr Haigh said: “We had a very successful partnership, but Christine was a successful woman in her own right.
“She liked people and was a very considerate, warm and affectionate person. She loved her family and grandchildren and was well loved herself.”
She once stood for the Conservatives in the former West Riding elections and at the time of her death was president of the Calder Valley Conservative Association. She was a keen supporter of the Prayer Book Society and lifelong sponsor of the Children’s Society.
Family members are keen horsemen and women and Mrs Haigh was president of Toulston Polo Club at Tadcaster.
She leaves children Joshua and Elizabeth and grandchildren Henry, Edward and Alex.
The public is welcome to attend the service at Ripponden, followed by refreshments at The Venue, Bowers Mill, Barkisland.