JUNE DARRAH MBE, of Kirby Sigston, near Northallerton, has died at the age of 89 after a lifetime of volunteering, community work, and helping those in need.

June was born in Southport in July 1930, and when the Second World War broke out, she was evacuated to the Lake District. She grew up in the village of Chapel Stile, near Ambleside, where she lived with her mother, two aunts and younger brother.

In her late teens, she studied horticulture at Newton Rigg, near Penrith, and was an active members of the local young farmers group.

June joined Westmorland Civil Defence Corps, and with her mother, competed in a two-day, 13-team Northern Regional Defence Corps contest, which involved emergency feeding and rest centre exercises. June’s Westmorland team were runners up to winners Cumberland.

Her civil defence work also included being seconded to assist with the victims of the 1953 East Coast flooding, and to the Newcastle office in 1956 to care for Hungarian refugees who had been evacuated following the Russian invasion of Hungary. In that same year, she formed part of the guard of honour when the Queen visited Windermere.

In 1951 June joined the WRVS, working from the Kendal office, the beginning of 60 years of service which included delivering meals on wheels and playing a major role in the emergency services team.

She moved to Northallerton in her early 20s, having secured a job with North Riding County Council, lodging on Brompton Road before moving to The Bungalow in her beloved Kirby Sigston where she lived for more than 50 years, only moving to Northallerton in 2015 as her health deteriorated.

June was with the county council for all her working life. Initially she was civil defence co-ordinator, organising training and emergency exercises across the county. She worked for Social Services as a home help co-ordinator, and latterly, before retiring in 1990, helped set up playgroups across North Yorkshire.

After she retired, the volunteering began in earnest. June was an active volunteer driver, respite sitter, helper and trustee at Northallerton and District Voluntary Service Association, now Hambleton Community Action, for nearly 30 years.

At Mental Health Support, now Mind Darlington, she was a management committee member and trustee for nearly 30 years, and was a weekly home visitor for the mental health support group housing project. June regularly helped with practical and emotional support for many clients.

June helped with the Rainbow Club, and from its formation in 1994, was a member of the management committee of Hambleton and Richmond Advocacy. For Hambleton and Richmond Carers, she was a member of the committee representing the Voluntary Services Association and Mental Health Support Group. June was an active member of the Trefoil Guild and for many years instructed and tested girl guides on various badges.

She provided food, cooked and served meals at Ainderby Steeple luncheon club, was secretary of Kirby Sigston Village Hall, deputy chairman of Hambleton Lifeline and involved with the pre-school playgroup organisation.

June was a member of Osmotherley Village Hall Committee, and of Osmotherley Garden Club. With her horticultural training, she assisted amateur gardeners, and well into her 80s could be seen mowing verges around Borrowby, Kirby Sigston, and Kirby Sigston church, as well as tending a roadside garden near The Bungalow.

For Rotters, she attended many events instructing people on the production and use of compost. June was a trustee for Workcrafts, latterly Skills Mill, and shared her extensive knowledge of the area at Northallerton Tourist Information Centre.

She volunteered at Northallerton’s Oxfam shop, and helped numerous individuals with shopping, transport, house moving, decorating, demolition and log chopping.

June was a massive collector, reusing, reducing and recycling anything and everything she came across. She loved quilting, quizzes, car boot sales, ginger biscuits, pies and cooking.

In 1998, June was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for “services to voluntary agencies including the WRVS in Northallerton and the district of Yorkshire”. June went to Buckingham Palace accompanied by friends, proudly wearing her WRVS uniform.

Other recognition followed, and in May 2004, she was made an honourary citizen of Northallerton for her dedication to the local community. In 2017, she received the community champion award at the inaugural Hambleton Community Awards. Her citation said she was: “An exceptional person who has made a real impact within the community by stepping up to the mark as a volunteer and making life better for people in need.”

June spent her last few years living in Lascelles Court, and died in Scorton Care Village on October 13. Her funeral takes place at St Lawrence Church, Kirby Sigston, on Monday, November 4 at 12pm, followed by refreshments at the Golden Lion, Northallerton, from 1.30pm.