“She was the gentlest, most giving person I have ever known.”
This was just one of the glowing tributes made by friends and neighbours of Gomersal pensioner Jean Myers this week. They said she was ‘an unsung hero’ and a ‘role model’ to everyone who knew her.
Mrs Myers, 89, of Thoresby Drive, was the victim of a street robbery last Friday afternoon in Quarry Road, Gomersal, when her handbag was stolen. The widow and grandmother died at Bradford Royal Infirmary from head injuries sustained during the robbery.
She was a devoted parishioner at Gomersal St Mary’s Church where she was part of the Mothers’ Union, and helped out with the Monday Club. She had been in the church to arrange flowers on the day before she died.
The Rev Karen Nicholl, from the church, said: “Our church community is in grief. She was absolutely delightful. She was a faithful and devoted member of our church family. She was very sprightly and she gave a lot of herself and never asked anything in return.
“We have spent some time reassuring some of the elderly people it’s not something that happens all the time. It’s been very important to reassure people.”
Roy Garside, 74, saw Mrs Myers every week at the Monday Club at church where they helped serve food to other elderly people.
He said: “After her husband Eric died she had a cuddle from me every monday at the lunch club. Everyone is in shock. It’s as though it’s just not sunk in yet. Last Monday she was there and now she’s just gone.
“Jean walked everywhere, she was very independent, even after Eric died. When I drove passed her I would insist she got in the car so I could give her a lift.”
Linda Smith, a lay pastor and church member, has described Mrs Myers as ‘a wonderful lady’.
“I knew her for many years and she was the gentlest, most giving person I have ever know. She gave with everything and asked for nothing in return,” Mrs Smith said.
“She put everyone before herself and she was an example of how a person should live. She used to come to Saturday morning prayer.
“Last Saturday she came and I was leading the service, afterwards she said she loved the half hour service and was her favourite time of the week.
“I just said to my husband she affected so many people not just in church, but in the community as a whole.”
Many neighbours on Thoresby Drive were too shocked and upset to speak this week, but Frances Wilkinson – who has known her for 40 years – paid tribute to the much-loved pensioner.
“Jean was a special lady who cared about people and her community.
“Jean was much-loved and will be immeasurably missed. The loss is devastating,” Mrs Wilkinson said.
During an Opera North performance on Sunday evening, the Easter Hymn – from Cavalleria Rusticana – was dedicated to Mrs Myers’ memory.
As well as giving her time to the church, Mrs Myers was also a volunteer at Gomersal St Mary’s School where she helped children read and led the Tots Praise with the youngest pupils.
Headteacher Susan Scott said: “Jean showed a warmth and understanding for all our children, and took a keen interest in everyone. She loved welcoming our new children and enjoyed getting to know them all.
“Over the years Jean has helped many children in school, she was a member of the knitting group from church that taught our year four children to knit. She was always generous with her time and loved being with the children.”