A well-respected and successful local musical singer, talented actress and director, Elizabeth Simpson has died, aged 82.

Whitehaven born Elizabeth, who, in addition to her acting and singing accomplishments was a retired infants school teacher, died on December 5.

She was born into a musical family, as Elizabeth’s father, Alfred Robertson, was the organist and choirmaster of St Nicholas Church, along with musical director for the Whitehaven & District Amateur Operatic Society.

Elizabeth made her stage debut for the society aged 16 in the 1955 production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘The Mikado’ playing the leading role of Yum Yum. From then on was a lifelong member of the society, performing on stage in musicals and plays, and directing many productions until 2014, when she became the societies President - earning a 60 years medal from the National Operatic & Dramatic Association. She also appeared on stage and directed for a number of other groups around the county including the Whitehaven Theatre Group.

Singing was Elizabeth’s forte, and she was renowned for her beautiful soprano voice, with consistent wins over the years in music festivals throughout the North West.

In addition Elizabeth sang at the Royal Albert and Newcastle City Hall amongst others, won a Border TV talent competition, toured Sweden with the Abbey Singers and was guest vocalist for a local recording of Songs of Praise for the BBC.

Throughout her life Elizabeth was also a singing teacher, bringing her knowledge and experience to new generations of singers, and ran a very successful youth choir – Voices of Youth.

In later life she even discovered an unexpected talent for art and enjoyed painting, sketching and drawing.

After leaving school Elizabeth studied at Tent Park College in Cockfosters, London before taking up her first teaching job at Gosforth Infants. After teaching also at Hensingham Infants and Lowca Primary school, Elizabeth had to take early retirement in the 1980s due to health issues that she successfully battled with courage and strength.

Above all Elizabeth loved her life with her family; her husband Ken who she met while teaching at Gosforth, their two children David and Ann, and grandson Christopher and great granddaughter’s Ellie and Isabel . She was also a wonderful mother-in-law to Linda, Alistair and grandmother-in-law to Rachel. And she loved cats – never being without one throughout her life!

Elizabeth shared 49 years of happy marriage with Ken until his death in 2009 after suffering from Lewy Body Dementia for a number of years.

At her funeral at St Bees Priory, a recording of Elizabeth singing was played. Her daughter Ann read the eulogy, son David said a poem and grandson Christopher gave his own moving, personal tribute. Her nephew Edward gave the reading and the service was lovingly conducted by the Rev Becky Gibbs.

Elizabeth will always be remembered as a caring, loving, funny talented and mischievous person and a tower of strength to all her family, who is now sadly missed by all who knew and loved her.