TRIBUTES have been paid to a formidable midwife who helped deliver a whole generation of babies in West Craven.
Audrey Moody (79), better known as Myra, died suddenly of a suspected heart attack at Favordale Care Home in Colne.
Born in Grassington in 1931, Myra was a pupil at St Monica’s Convent in Skipton before moving down to London to train as a nurse at what was Westminster Hospital.
She was at the hospital when King George VI was being treated there towards the end of his life and helped nurse him.
After completing her training, Myra moved back north to Yorkshire with her husband Leslie Russell and they welcomed two children, Jane (56) and Michael (53).
The family then moved to Laneshaw Bridge and Myra trained as a midwife at Hartley Hospital. As a Pendle Community Midwife she was responsible for families throughout the area.
In later years she would focus on West Craven, working out of Earby Surgery. Despite a back operation in the 1970s, which troubled her for the rest of her life, Myra worked tirelessly with her families. She lived in Rostle Top Road for 25 years, eventually retiring from midwifery at the end of the 1980s.
Following a divorce, Myra met and married Peter Moody in 1986 and they shared a happy life in Earby until his death in 2003.
Myra’s daughter Jane paid tribute to her mother, who she described as “very respected and well known, with a no nonsense approach but a lot of fun”.
She said: “All the friends and ex-colleagues that have called us have said their overriding memory is what fun they used to have with her.
“She absolutely loved her work and loved her mums and babies. Mums used to send her photographs of babies she had helped deliver and she also liked mentoring students.
“She was very maternal but not in a sloppy sense. She was more matter of fact, encouraging and supportive. She wanted new mums to feel confident about their own abilities and as she was the one who would spend the first couple of days with the family, she was able to instill in them the confidence that they could do it even if they had doubts.”
With ongoing back pain, Myra spent her retirement with Peter enjoying the relaxed company of family and friends. They also relished time in Bentham where they kept a static caravan.
Myra was a huge fan of classical music, instilled by her pianist father, and she was very fond of animals. She kept chow dogs for many years and had a miniature poodle.
She even featured in the Leader Times Newspapers when son Michael brought home a chicken from school. Given the name Cheeky, the chicken grew so attached to Myra it would follow her up and down the stairs and perch on her chest. She was heartbroken when they had to get rid of it.
Jane said Myra will be remembered in Earby as a real character. “She was a very vivacious lady who lived life to the full. She will be missed by many. She never just did her job; it was always more than that and she left a real mark.
“After Peter died she had never lived by herself before and she was incredibly happy at Favordale. We are very grateful to all the staff and carers there.”
Myra leaves Jane and Michael, grandchildren Ian, Mark, Helen and Sebastian and great grandchildren Ryan, Charlie and Annie-Mae.
The funeral takes place today with a service at Skipton Crematorium at 1 p.m. Friends and family will then celebrate Myra’s life at the Tempest Arms.