Lady with ‘can-do’ spirit was mystery legacy donor

Mrs Barbara Williams, picture supplied by Judith Harding
Mrs Barbara Williams, picture supplied by Judith Harding

The Harrogate Advertiser received a great response to our appeal for information about Barbara Williams, the mystery benefactor who bequeathed £130,000 to the Friends of Harrogate District Hospital.

It has been established that Mrs Williams lived in Kirk Hammerton for around 20 years until 1984, before moving to Killinghall then to West Park Stray, Harrogate, after her husband, Glynn Williams died.

Mrs Williams was a well liked woman with a wide variety of interests, including cricket and horse racing and she was a part owner in a race horse.

In 1968 she became a Magistrate at Harrogate Magistrates Court, although it is unclear when she ceased this work.

She is best remembered in the Village of Kirk Hammerton for the active role she played in the community.

Les Hornby from Kirk Hammerton remembers Mrs Williams fondly he said: “Barbara was chair of the Parish Council for a while and had been instrumental in getting the playing fields for the village back in the 1970s.”

Mr Hornby’s wife Janice added: “She was passionate about getting the playing fields for the children, I remember her writing on old bed sheets and hanging them up so passers-by on the train could see what we wanted.”

Mrs Hornby also remembers Mrs Williams’ involvement with the WI in the village, and her contributions to the village galas. She said: “She was a forth right lady and a very lovely lady.

“Just last Sunday (October 7) her name was mentioned in the village when the new play equipment was unveiled.”

Martin Leather from Kirk Hammerton knew Mrs Williams through her husband Glynn. “Glynn worked at ICI Agricultural Division,” Mr Leather said: “He had a good job and that’s why they moved to the area.”

Judith Harding was a good friend of Barbara Williams, she said: “She was married to Glynn, a Welshman and lived in Cheshire for a while.

“She was treated in Harro