FORMER Mayoress of Ripon Barbara Richmond, who has died at the age of 77, combined a long nursing career with supporting the public service of her husband, John, who is a Freeman of the City.
Mrs Richmond was born in Darlington and educated at St Margaret’s School in York, where her father, Jack Milburn, was head of passenger movements for British Rail.
She began her nursing career in 1952 at the age of 16 at the Adela Shaw Yorkshire Children’s Orthopaedic Hospital in Kirkbymoorside, where those recovering from tuberculosis often slept on balconies outside its timber wards to receive the maximum fresh air.
Mrs Richmond qualified as a state registered nurse at Harrogate General Hospital where she specialised in operating theatre work and took charge of a variety of wards. When people asked where she had met her husband, she delighted in telling them “in bed”.
She was a staff nurse in 1957 when John Richmond, who was brought up on the family dairy farm at Kirkby Malzeard, near Ripon, was a patient on the male surgical ward.
They married in 1958 and Mrs Richmond temporarily left nursing when her husband became manager of Grange Dairy Farm at Killinghall, near Harrogate.
Five years later they and their two children, Paul and Anita, moved to Ripon, after buying the Nordale Guest House in North Road. Mr Richmond was elected to Ripon City Council in 1967 and in 1975-76 they served as mayor and mayoress.
Although she was running the guest house and supporting her husband, who also served on Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council, Mrs Richmond returned to nursing in 1971 at the newly opened family planning clinic at Alma House in Ripon. She also ran drop-in sessions for girls at Ripon Grammar School.
During their year as mayor and mayoress, the United States multi-millionaire Talbot Kendall invited them to Ripon, California, where they also met the mayor of Ripon, Wisconsin. It was the start of two yearly golf tournaments between Ripon City Golf Club and Ripon, California which still continue with alternate events in North Yorkshire and California.
In 1976 Mr Richmond was captain of Ripon City Golf Club and his wife supported him as captain’s lady. From 2001 to 2004 she was president’s lady when he was again in office. She was also at his side when he was president of Ripon Rotary Club in 2004
After they sold the Nordale and moved to live on Harrogate Road in Ripon in 1988, Mrs Richmond became a school nurse in Ripon and surrounding villages. She subsequently carried out further training and became a sister at the Harrogate Family Planning Clinic and its satellite at Ripon Community Hospital.
Mrs Richmond was one of the founder members with Brenda Anderson and the late Kathy Ellis of the Ripon Imperial Cancer Committee, which raised many thousands of pounds through charity events. Her fundraising work earned Mrs Richmond and her husband an invitation to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. It was cancer which claimed her life.
Mrs Richmond is survived by her husband, their son Paul, a district judge, and daughter Anita, a retired Australian ski company manager, and four grandchildren. After a funeral service, which filled Allhallowgate Methodist Church in Ripon, she was buried in Kirkby Malzeard cemetery.