Lasting tribute to historian who ‘loved and served’ Wakefield

Kate TaylorKate Taylor
Kate Taylor
THE FAMILY of a notable Wakefield historian who died earlier this year will be presented with a permanent reminder of her contribution to the city at a service on Friday.

Prolific author, historian, and active civic campaigner Kate Taylor died aged 81 in May, just a month before the news that she had been awarded an MBE for services to heritage and the community was announced.

Following a social media campaign by her family, Wakefield Council will present Miss Taylor’s family with a Wakefield Star to honour her contribution to exploring and understanding the city’s past.

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The pavement stars scheme has seen 14 notable people from the Wakefield district awarded plaques that are set into the streets of the city centre honouring their role in the city.

Miss Taylor joins the likes of artists Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, rugby league stars David Topliss and Neil Fox, and musicians The Cribs, who already have stars.

Miss Taylor’s son Simon Jenkins will accept the star at Westgate Chapel on Friday, the day before he will be presented with her MBE from the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe, at a memorial service at Wakefield Cathedral on Saturday.

Miss Taylor’s sister Enid Barron said: “We are thrilled that Coral (Kate) is being honoured in this way by the city which was her lifelong home, which she loved and which she served so well in so many ways. As her family we are shocked and deeply saddened by her death and miss her dreadfully but it is a great help and a joy to us that her work for Wakefield is being recognised by this award.

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“It will make her a permanent part of the fabric of the city. We are very proud of her and know that if she were still here she would be absolutely delighted.”

Miss Taylor, a former Open University tutor, was born in Wakefield, and apart from a brief period studying at Oxfrod University, lived in the city all her life.

Her family said her knowledge of local history and her desire to share this information with ordinary folk through books, talks, walks and lectures has “inspired hundreds of people to view Wakefield through different eyes”.

Her numerous civic roles included helping to look after the Gissing Centre and historic Chantry Chapel, and sitting on committees including Wakefield Civic Society and Wakefield Historical Society.

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Family and friends will travel from all over the country to see Miss Taylor get the recognition “she so richly deserved from the people who mattered to her the most, the people of Wakefield”, her family said.

Coun Les Shaw, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport said: “Kate made an immense contribution to Wakefield’s history by documenting and sharing her knowledge. She has left a lasting legacy and it is fitting that she is honoured in this way.”

Members of the public nominate people for a ‘star’, and these are considered by a board including representatives from the public, private and community sectors.

Kevin Trickett, chairman of the Wakefield Stars board, said: “Wakefield Stars celebrates people with a connection to the area, who have a nationally recognised, outstanding achievement.

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“I am very pleased that Kate’s work is being acknowledged in this way.

“She spent a great part of her life researching and writing about Wakefield’s history and helping to raise the city’s profile locally and further afield.”