Tribute has been paid to Belinda Evans, a stalwart of village life and charity work, who was the great, great, great granddaughter of aviation pioneer, Sir George Cayley, and one of the famous seven daughters of Sir Kenelm and Lady Cayley, of Brompton-by-Sawdon.
Born in 1940, she was the fourth of the daughters and grew up in the village which, for generations, was owned by the family estate.
After attending Hillside School in Scarborough and later Queen Ethelburga’s College, Boroughbridge, she studied at a secretarial college in London, worked at the Medici Galleries before joining the East African Tourist Office in Trafalgar Square.
It was while living in London that she met her husband, Mark. They married in 1962, and had three children, Nicolas, Amanda and Alex.
Mrs Evans’ many interests included a 20 year association with Riding for the Disabled, working from the Knightsbridge Barracks in London, and playing a key part in the Distressed Gentlefolks Association, now known as Elizabeth Finn Care, acting as its national chairman.
The family returned to Mrs Evans’ childhood home in Brompton, living at The Manor House following the death of Lady Cayley, and she quickly became involved in a catalogue of village organisations.
She was anxious that the village’s history as the place where the first aircraft was flown thanks to Sir George, the 6th Baronet, and where the poet William Wordsworth was married, should be recognised for future generations. As a result a major celebration of the aviation pioneer’s success was marked in 2003 with the building and flying of a replica of the original aircraft by Sir Richard Branson. Then, Mrs Evans was to be involved in the celebration of Wordsworth’s life in a festival which attracted major interest nationally.
Her life took on another dimension when she acted as her husband’s consort in 2002-03 when he was High Sheriff of North Yorkshire.
Mr Evans said: “Belinda was a great lover of the countryside and village life. She was terribly fond of flowers, especially wild varieties, and of her dogs, but she was also a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother who just enjoyed meeting and being with people, especially when they needed help. Belinda was a lady with an infectious personality and a wonderful sense of humour.”
l Mrs Evans’ funeral will be held at All Saints’, Brompton-by-Sawdon, on Friday May 2, at 12pm followed by interment in the family section of the graveyard.