Joan Cave

JOAN Cave, who has died aged 91, was awarded an MBE for her services to the War Widows Association of Great Britain. Having become a regional organiser in 1976, she was national chairman the following year.

She was a long-standing member of the Royal British Legion, Mirfield, and of Soroptimist International of Dewsbury, serving as president, treasurer and member of its Welfare Committee.

For 30 years she belonged to Dewsbury District Golf Club where she became Ladies Captain in 1982, and for more than 30 years this busy woman belonged to the Mothers' Union at St Mary's Church, Mirfield.

Joan was born in Dewsbury and went to St Matthew's School and Dewsbury Technical College. Her husband, Sergeant Osmond D Cave (REME) was killed in action in 1942 aged 27.

As a young widow with a small child, Joan bought a house but had to take her father with her to get a mortgage as it was unheard of for a woman to become involved in such a transaction on her own.

Overcoming challenges, however, defined her character. She opened a hairdressing salon in Halifax Road, Dewsbury which she ran from 1945 to 1974. She was committed to her daughter Barbara's education, seeing it through to her graduation from Birmingham University with Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees, and she devoted much energy to helping other people, as witnessed by her work for the War Widows Association whose original aim was to have the tax burden removed from the war widows' pension.

Partial success was achieved in 1976 with the removal of half the tax and the remainder went in 1979. Joan was a prime mover in the campaign. She served as a voluntary visitor for 17 years and at one time was visitor to 37 widows, and she represented the association on, among other regional bodies, the West Yorkshire Committee for DSS War Pensions Welfare.

She joined the Soroptimist International of Dewsbury when she was 37 and remained a member for 58 years, becoming an honorary member some 30 years ago.

Joan was a strong character in which were combined wisdom, common sense, tenacity, a sense of humour and, in the later part of her life, a great deal of experience.

She is survived by her daughter Barbara, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.