Cheshire pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and remembers her visits
Lady Redmond, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire
Lady Redmond, Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire - Credit: Cheshire Lieutenancy The Queen's warmth and wry sense of humour are well known, readily reflected in her adventures with James Bond and Paddington Bear.
There are many wonderful stories now emerging, as the nation works through its grief: the kind of stories we all call upon when coping with a great loss. One particular anecdote aired on the recent TV coverage made me laugh out loud.
While out and about on one of her now well-documented informal Balmoral excursions, head-scarfed and driving her Land Rover, accompanied only by her protection officer, she pulled over to pick up two tourists stranded in torrential rain. Failing to recognise their rescuer, the two explained they were hoping to see the Queen and asked, as a local, if she had ever met her. The Queen gave that famous smile and replied no, pointed to her other passenger and said, but he has.
I took office as Lord Lieutenant as recently as August 2021, preceded by David Briggs MBE, CVO (2010-2021), Sir William Bromley-Davenport KCVO (1990-2010) and Viscount Leverhulme KCVO (1949-1990), all following closely Her Majesty's journey as she skilfully navigated the immense socio-cultural and economic change the nation has experienced during those years.
As the Sovereign's representative in the county, royal visits are a big part of my responsibilities, but I was fortunate to have met the Queen on several occasions beforehand, not least at my own personal moment when she presented me with the MBE. Many people talk of Her Majesty's ability to put people at ease, her thoughtfulness in ensuring she knew all about you before meeting you, and never forgetting, I can attest to this, It was a very special occasion.
I also remember first encountering her mischievous humour many years ago when the staff and cast of Brookside were invited to meet her. My husband Phil Redmond and I were tasked with the introductions and there was much stifling of laughter, very much enjoyed by Her Majesty, as progressing down the carefully assembled line, she rendered a normally exuberant cast silent, wide-eyed and starstruck as she recognised their characters and storylines.
Another highlight was in my previous role as High Sheriff of Cheshire, during her most recent visit to Cheshire on Thursday, June 14, 2018, to open the Mersey Gateway Bridge and the Chester Storyhouse Arts Centre. It was also the moment Meghan, as the new Duchess of Sussex, made her first public appearance. Her Majesty's warmth and enthusiasm, extended to our wonderful county and the many residents she met, whether on public walkabout or the civic reception in the Town Hall, shone through when the then Lord Mayor Alex Black led the Queen and the Duchess on to the balcony in front of Chester Town Hall.
The Lord Mayor was mesmerised by the occasion and the enormous crowd that had gathered, and we all saw the Queen eventually gently touch his elbow, give him the warmest smile and galvanise him into action.
That moment reminded me of another personal moment at the opening by Her Majesty of the National Museums, Museum of Liverpool, in December, 2011. Phil was Chair at the time and in the final stages of the visit, with the cord pulled and the plaque exposed, he thanked Her Majesty in an energetic but composed manner - or so he thought - and we all clapped with enthusiasm. Then the Queen quietly said, 'shouldn't you be asking me to do something?', again, with that wonderful engaging smile.
Phil had forgotten to ask her to sign the huge visitors' book that sat large right in front of them, resulting in hysterical laughter. A great way to end a great visit.
HM The Queen visits Chester Zoo in 2012 during the Diamond Jubilee Tour. Also pictured are the Duke of Edinburgh and Dr Mark Pilgrim, Chester Zoo chief executive - Credit: Steve Rawlins
As part of that North West Diamond Jubilee Regional Tour, she and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, stayed overnight in Ellesmere Port, opening the new Diamond Jubilee Quarter at Chester Zoo and the Orford Jubilee Park in Warrington. Ten years earlier in 2002, the Queen visited Macclesfield as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations.
During her 70-year reign, Her Majesty visited Cheshire on many occasions, for both formal and private visits, starting as far back as 1951 when she was still Princess Elizabeth, with her last visit being 67 years late. Along with Prince Philip, she toured a number of Chester venues over those years, performing official duties at the Town Hall, the new County Hall and the old Chester Royal Infirmary.
She visited Chester Races several times, presenting Afghanistan campaign medals to soldiers of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Welsh Regiment, during one visit, in her role as Colonel-in-Chief. There were visits to Crewe, Runcorn, Widnes, Warrington, Nantwich, Macclesfield, Ellesmere Port, Congleton and Chester during her reign. Many of us will have personal memories, but all include the Queen smiling, gently reminding us the basis on which our monarchy is built has ensured that through the centuries the Crown has passed in line of succession to this day, upholding constitutional government, and seeking peace, harmony and prosperity for our nation.
As we come to terms with our profound sadness, our thoughts must be with the new King and Queen Consort and other members of the royal family as they mourn a much-loved mother and grandmother, and deal with the enormous changes ahead. Those changes include the new Earl and Countess of Chester. The new Prince of Wales, and next heir to the throne, William.
The Earldom of Chester was one of the most powerful earldoms in medieval England. We send both condolences, and our very best wishes, to the new Earl and Countess. This is such a sad and difficult time, however, we have no choice but to look to the future and take strength from Her Late Majesty The Queen's wonderful example.
We wish His Majesty King Charles III that strength in meeting the challenges and know he will face them with the same extraordinary sense of duty as his mother and will do justice to her legacy while bringing his many unique strengths to the sovereign's role.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Sussex arrive by Royal Train at Runcorn Station to carry out engagements in Cheshire in June 2018. They were greeted by David Briggs, Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire - Credit: Runcorn and Widnes World David Briggs, Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, 2020-2021
As I look back at the Queen's long life the emotion I have is of thanks for her leadership and for her great virtues of service, duty and stability.
When the Queen began her reign 70 years ago she was, of course, Head of State but she added to that position that of Head of Nation. I like that some talked of her as Mother of the Nation and it is because of this we all feel we belong to the nation. It makes a difference to this country that we all feel that sense of belonging and much of why we feel this is that we have had a leader we all admire and respect.
It was a truly extraordinary privilege to have been Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant in Cheshire for 11 years not least because wherever I went people were always pleased to see the Queen's representative. I was, I came to realise, representing the most popular leader on earth. The highlights were, of course, her three personal visits to Cheshire.
Covid sadly prevented a fourth. On what was the first day of lockdown she was to have visited Bentley in Crewe to celebrate its 100th anniversary and to open the new Square Kilometre Array Observatory next to Jodrell Bank. The first of the three visits during my time as Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire was a visit to Reaseheath Agricultural College where she much enjoyed seeing the new Equine Centre.
Later that day at Chester Racecourse she welcomed The Royal Welsh back from Afghanistan and none of us there will forget the moment when she went to talk to a soldier on parade in his wheelchair after losing both his legs in the Afghan war. The next visit was to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 when she spent a night on board a yacht at anchor in the Manchester Ship Canal in Ellesmere Port. The next day she visited the zoo in Chester and I well remember my relief when she disembarked safely from the monorail, as an earlier royal visit had seen the Duchess of Kent stranded for an hour in the monorail over the lion enclosure.
And then her visit to the magnificent Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub, which was completed just in time for the visit. There is nothing quite like a visit from the Queen to make sure a new building is finished on time. The third visit was firstly to Halton to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge and then to Chester to open the Storyhouse theatre and this was followed by Her Majesty walking from Storyhouse to Chester Town Hall with Northgate full of well-wishers. I sat next to the Queen at lunch that day - a lunch I will never forget.
I most clearly remember her enthusiasm for the Queen's Green Canopy project to plant thousands of trees. She also told me how certain world leaders would not listen to her as she urged them to stop deforestation. It is clearly not just our new King who has been speaking for years about environmental issues.
HM The Queen arrives at Crewe Station in 2010, greeted by Lord-Lieutenant David Briggs and Viscount Ashbrook - Credit: Cheshire Lieutenancy It was in that very room where we had lunch that in 1992 Her Majesty had presented a new Charter to the City of Chester enabling the city to have a Lord Mayor.
Why is it that each of these visits remains so clearly in the minds of all who met her? Having had the opportunity of seeing the Queen work at close quarters I think it is because when she talked to you, you were the absolute centre of her attention.
To have led our nation through all the changes of the last 70 years has required our Queen to change as well. Seven decades ago she was respected with a sense of awe but in more recent years she has been regarded, so very deservedly, with genuine affection, as Mother of the Nation.
May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Jeannie France-Hayhurst, High Sheriff of Cheshire
The High Sheriff of Cheshire, Jeannie France-Hayhurst - Credit: Cheshire Life We shall all remember Thursday, September 8th, 2022, as the end of one era and the dawn of another. On the day before the Queen's death, I was a guest speaker at a session of Lymm's Women's Institute and at the end of the evening, they stood to sing, the National Anthem with the words, 'God Save Our Gracious Queen', as they do at every meeting.
None of us realised this would be the last time we would sing this version. Two days later I stood in Chester Cathedral, singing the anthem to the new King. How the world changed in a few short hours.
Although the late Queen, our Queen, was of great age and increasingly frail, most of us believed she would just carry on as she had done for decades. She had been with us to mark the year's calendar milestones, this year not always attending, but still following her beloved racing at Ascot, the Derby and the Grand National, viewing her birthday celebration of Trooping the Colour, appearing to ecstatic cheers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the end of the celebrations of her own wonderful Platinum Jubilee, cheering on England's Lionesses to win the World Cup, appreciating Chelsea Flower Show and the Edinburgh Tattoo, welcoming the Commonwealth Games, and always taking a lively interest in all the things that make us such a special nation and bind us together in our quirky, individual ways. Despite her increasing frailty since she appeared on our screens for her last Christmas broadcast, Her Late Majesty carried on working through the papers in her Red Boxes and, in the last couple of days of her life accepted the resignation of one prime minister, and appointed a new one, looking cheerful and comfortable in her drawing room at Balmoral.
We all looked forward to seeing her special twinkle and became increasingly aware of the character of the true woman behind the role: we were comforted by her speech to us during Covid when she reassured us 'we would all meet again' or when we ached for her loneliness as she sat in St George's Chapel at the funeral of her beloved husband, telling us later that 'grief is the price we pay for love'. This remarkable, unique lady was a role model as a wife, a mother, a grandmother and great-grandmother, the perfect head of state. The most famous woman in the world.
She served our country for more than seven decades, in times of affluence and austerity, welcoming 15 prime ministers. She made the Commonwealth her special family and made countless trips across the world, earning respect and admiration for her wisdom, experience, knowledge, loyalty, good sense, humour and charm.
Her unwavering Christian faith was lived out in her unselfishness, her devotion to others and her life of service. She gained strength from her belief: her commitment, compassion and humility were all part of a picture of someone who can be properly described as a genuinely good person.
We owe her a debt of gratitude for her unstinting service, the stability she brought to this country as a wise and dedicated sovereign: we shall miss her smile and her presence, her steadfast devotion. The existence of a royal family gives us the continuity that is absent from so many other countries and institutions. Politicians come and go; fame flickers briefly.
But we come to know members of a family as they grow and develop. We find parallels with our own lives and families; we recognise the joys and the sorrows, feel sympathy or annoyance, and have to adapt to inevitable changes. And now we have a new King, Charles III, someone who has already shown the depth of his commitment to serve us, an early champion of so many movements that are now mainstream policies, including care for our planet and the environment, the importance of community life and the need for opportunities for young people.
We welcome his Queen Consort, Camilla, who has worked tirelessly to support him and who has created her own striking path in her commitment to health and literary charities. There is a new Prince of Wales in Prince William, who is also the new Earl of Chester, and a new Princess Catherine, who will become the Countess of Chester. This continuity is what helps us all to come to terms with change, knowing that the bedrock of our country is protected by a commitment to loyalty, service and stability.
We have been, and still are, so very fortunate in the crown, our history and our future.
Let us continue to value and celebrate this priceless treasure.
The Bishop of Chester, The Right Reverend Mark Tanner - Credit: Diocese of Chester The Right Reverend Mark Tanner, Bishop of Chester
'Before I finish, I can truthfully say to you all that we children at home are full of cheerfulness and courage. We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen and we are trying too to bear our own share of the danger and sadness of war.
We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well, for God will care for us and give us victory and peace. And when peace comes, remember, it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.' So said the then Princess Elizabeth, aged 14, as she and her sister Margaret broadcast to the nation on October 14th, 1940.
These words cut to the very heart of my deep admiration and lifelong appreciation for Her Majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth II. They ran through my mind as I prepared to meet with her 81 years later in the days after her own profound bereavement following the loss of her dearly beloved husband, Prince Philip. Even at that time, her kindness, inner strength, and profound faith shone through as we talked and I found myself welcomed with genuine interest, knowledge, and concern for the people of Cheshire and the Wirral.
Each of us will have our own memories of our utterly remarkable, and much missed, Queen. Like me, you will probably find yourself grieving at our loss but also full of gratitude for all we have received. Queen Elizabeth once advised Mary Simon, the Governor General of Canada, to 'be gentle with yourself'.
We would do well to remember this sage advice as we grieve, for other griefs will probably surface in us and others. Be gentle and kind just as she was. We will also want to raise a glass and pay tribute to the astonishing way in which Queen Elizabeth simply pushed on with the work.
She was tireless without ever appearing driven, working almost to her last day in the role that was thrust upon her at such a young age. The 96-year-old monarch still epitomised the cheerfulness and courage that the 14-year-old princess described so eloquently. I think of the images of her in overalls fixing military trucks, or dealing graciously with presidents apparently ignorant of royal etiquette.
I see her smiling on her grandchildren and now great-grandchildren and surround them, too, with my prayers as they deal with their own grief. I think of the charities she has supported, and the tone she has set for us as a nation and more widely in the Commonwealth. We have glimpsed only the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to her contribution to our lives.
In all of this, she has been sustained by her profound faith in Christ. She has been a tireless servant of the Church of England as our Supreme Governor, but she would be the first to say her faith has strengthened her more than she could ever strengthen others. She was a rock, and she herself stood on the rock who is her Lord and ours: Jesus Christ.
This is one of many reasons that the Cathedral and many churches of the Diocese are open for people to take time in prayer seeking comfort and peace at this time. Your Majesty, peace came. And we salute the extraordinary manner in which you have made our world a better and happier place.
We shall hold your family in our hearts and prayers and we renew our own commitment to this nation you loved and served. May you rest in peace, and rise in glory.
God save the King.
Cheshire Life honoured 70 Cheshire champions to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee - Credit: Cheshire Life To honour the Queen in her Platinum Jubilee Year, Cheshire Life readers chose 70 county champions whose own achievements were celebrated at a garden party in June at Crewe Hall.
These are among their tributes Sarah Callender Beckett, Combermere Abbey Estate
The Queen embodied everything a sovereign should be for so many from all walks of life and around the world. Her humility, dedication, commitment, deep faith and humour inspired and supported the nation through 75 years of huge change.
She was truly a great Queen and has left an indelible legacy for us to treasure. Graham Phillips, Cheshire Young Carers
I have been struck by the impact the death of the late Queen has had on young people. It is testament to her enduring kindness and spirit she has made such a positive impression on future generations, helped by her sense of humour and more recently working with Paddington Bear.
Sue France, organiser of networking events
Our whole family gathered at our house around our new TV to watch the Coronation in 1953. I was five and loved seeing the beautiful new queen. She brought us together then and has been uniting the nation ever since.
She never wavered in her duty and will be missed. Cathy Pettingale, KidsBank
Here at KidsBank Chester we thank God for Her Majesty's 70 years of service to the UK and the Commonwealth, for her unwavering leadership and her deep Christian faith. We join the rest of the nation and the world in remembering her.
Kirsty James, networking, marketing and event consultant
The death of Queen Elizabeth II was such terribly sad news, for her family, her subjects, the nation and the world. It is the end of an era, an unprecedented moment in history. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling such deep melancholy at her departure. As for many others, she was the only monarch I've ever known.
Her life is one to celebrate: the legacy she created for the world is unparalleled. Rest in peace Your Majesty, and may your son, King Charles III, continue in your colourful footsteps. Long live the King.
Chesney Orme, community champion
I felt privileged to be asked to attend the Cheshire Life celebration to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee this summer. The Queen was a great ambassador for the youth of Britain, as I remember her from my time in the cubs and scouts as a young boy. The respect we all had for her then has continued throughout my life.
She will be hard to follow. My condolences to King Charles and his family. Heather Pope, awarded the MBE for services to dental treatment for the vulnerable Queen Elizabeth II embraced exactly what it means to be British: her love of pet dogs, horses, gardens, countryside and family holidays on rainy hillsides and beaches is shared by so many of us.
Regal, a matriarch, and a century of world history encapsulated in one wonderful person. Matthew Lanham, The NeuroMuscular Centre
The Queen stood for public good, not private gain or self-interest. She had unwavering integrity and a true and deeply felt sense of public duty and service.
She spent her life learning about the lives of other people and that informed her compassion and understanding. Through her support for, and involvement in, so many charities up and down the land, she used her influence and her reach to enable so much good work to be done. We shall miss that constancy, that rock, she has provided.
HM The Queen visits Chester Zoo in 2012 during the Diamond Jubilee Tour.
Also pictured are the Duke of Edinburgh and Dr Mark Pilgrim, Chester Zoo chief executive - Credit: Steve Rawlins Myles Carr, business owner
Working right up until her passing shows true example, duty and inspiration. The queen sacrificed so much for her country and people, I have total respect for her, she will be missed unconditionally.
Eileen Sharman, Northwich Brain Tumour Support Group founder
Queen Elizabeth II was a total inspiration to me. Her integrity and the unwavering role she played for this country were outstanding. Her reign will never be forgotten
Figen Murray, peace and anti-terrorism campaigner
I heard the sad news in New York while attending a UN Congress. Our Queen led with warmth, strength, devotion and love for her country and its people - qualities so many of us truly admired her for. I will remember her for her kindness, grace and strength of character.
She will be sorely missed by so many millions of people around the world. Jo Garner, autism charity campaigner
Her Majesty has dedicated her life to service. She has been a huge inspiration to millions of people and will be missed greatly. I remember my grandmother talking about how she revered The Queen and how much she had done for our country. I am proud to be British when I reflect on everything Her Royal Highness has achieved. Sarah Flannery, Knutsford Hosts
Dedicated, constant, loyal... our Queen represented the very best of Britain and served us faithfully to the end.
She championed the work of volunteers and we will honour her legacy. Three short months ago we celebrated our Queen's reign with gratitude and love; now we say farewell with sorrow but great pride.
Queen Elizabeth II being shown narrow boats at the Boat Museum Ellesmere Port in November 1979 - Credit: Canal & River Trust Louis Hill, Source PR
She was the backbone of our nation and a much-loved figurehead for millions around the world.
Quite simply, an inspirational and selfless woman who led by the very best example. Emma Guy, business owner and charity ambassador
The Cheshire Life Platinum Jubilee Cheshire Champions were all chosen for our service to the community. This service, no matter how great, was just a drop in the ocean compared to that of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
By any measure, she set the standards of service to which we should all aspire. Pauline Fielding, road safety campaigner
At this sad time, my thoughts are with the Queen's family following their great loss. Throughout her long life, our Queen constantly showed humility, great devotion to duty and selfless service to our country, the Commonwealth and indeed the whole world.
She inspired us all. Let us follow her example Rosemary Schofield, Girl Guiding
My connection with Guiding has continued since the 1960s when I was asked to help out for a couple of weeks at a Guide unit.
Our late Queen joined the Guides aged 11 enjoying all the usual activities and adventures. When she became Queen in 1953 she also become patron to the Girl Guiding movement. For the whole of her life, she kept true to her Guiding promise, including 'to do her best', which of course she has always done, and beyond, and has been an enormous inspiration to all Guiding members.
We all knew that at 96 years of age her death would not be too many years away, but we hoped just not yet... I now just have a hollow feeling, am extremely sad and sorry we will not be seeing her again with that beautiful smile and sparkling eyes. Kate Blakewell, Motherwell
I was extremely sad to hear of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
She was an inspiration and a true role model to all generations; always able to bring the country together when we needed it the most. Liz Parkin, Nantwich Buddies
Her Majesty - what an inspiration to us all. Never before, and possibly never again, will the nation feel such a profound end of an era.
The Queen was a model of excellence for us all. Her resilience, her dedication to her country, her work and her family were truly remarkable. Jill Houlbrook, former Lord Mayor of Chester, campaigner
The death of Queen Elizabeth II leaves a space in our lives that can never be filled.
In the dedication to her country and the people of the Commonwealth and in her role as Head of State she was the absolute role model for everyone in public service. Kim Smith, local radio broadcaster, breast cancer fundraiser
I am heartbroken at the loss of this inspiring selfless woman who has been a constant throughout our lives. I feel as if I have lost someone very dear God bless our beautiful Queen now safe in the arms of her Philip.
Ann Nevitt, Sandbach town councillor
Queen Elizabeth the Second was the linchpin of our country, her 70 years on the throne make her the longest-serving monarch ever, and she is irreplaceable. I can remember the Coronation when she said she would devote her life, whether it would be long or short, to carrying out her duty to the best of her ability. There was not a day went by that she did not carry out this promise and she will be greatly missed.
A life well lived and a woman well loved. Diane Clark, Passion for Learning
The Queen was crowned just a year before I was born so I find it difficult to imagine life without her reliable and comforting presence. Four years ago I was privileged to meet her on behalf of Passion for Learning.
She was incredibly special, unique and an irreplaceable inspiration. Alex Staniforth, Mind Over Mountains
I had the privilege of meeting Her Majesty last year and feel incredibly honoured to have had the opportunity. She took a genuine interest in everyone she met with a smile - I even made her chuckle.
The UK has lost a national treasure and leader we can all aspire towards. I'm not easily starstruck but she was just an amazing lady. Jean Harding, Cheshire Federation of Women's Institutes
It is such sad news that our beloved Queen has died.
A truly dedicated and inspiring monarch who will be sadly missed and mourned by so many and my thoughts are with her family at this sad time. Anthony Josephson, optometrist
Born in the late '80s I'm very much of the generation where the Royal Family isn't a big deal, but I, like many others, regarded The Queen as a tremendous lady and role model, someone who seemingly sacrificed so much to fulfill her duty to the country, right to the very end. The world is a sadder place without her.
Cody Gapare, entrepreneur, charity ambassador
Rest in peace, Your Majesty. You gave so much and demanded so little. The shoes you have left and not easy to fill.
Your legacy will live forever. Goodnight and God bless. Sharon Cawley, Conexus Tuition
I am sure we all feel privileged to have witnessed what has been a masterclass in leadership for the last 70 years.
Leading by example with dignity, uncompromising standards and unquestionable ethics we have all been privileged to bear witness to the leadership both in times of crisis and periods of peace of Queen Elizabeth II.
The response to her passing should serve as an indicator of the impact that she has had on the lives of so many, personally, locally, nationally and globally.
Yet again, as a figurehead, she has united a nation. Sadly this is now in collective mourning and grief but united in unwavering admiration for a truly remarkable woman. Cheryl Simpson, Space4Autism
Sincere condolences to the Royal Family on the passing of their dear mother, grandmother, great -grandmother, and our loyal, dedicated monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Space4Autism was privileged to have received the Queen's Award during her exemplary reign.
She will live on in all our hearts. Louis Hill, Source PR
The Queen was the backbone of our nation and a much-loved figurehead for millions around the world. Quite simply an inspirational and selfless woman who led by the very best example. Maggie Oliver, campaigner, founder of the Maggie Oliver Foundation
Queen Elizabeth II selflessly dedicated her whole life to serving her country, often at the expense of her private life. I feel she was ready to join Prince Philip, and with his passing, I saw the light disappear from her eyes.
Now they are reunited, at peace, together. Martin Howlett, chief executive, Cheshire Connect
I first saw Her Majesty at her Silver Jubilee at Tower Bridge. As a young child, I was truly inspired by her presence.
That inspiration has remained throughout my life. She was a moral compass, unwavering in her commitment to so many. Laura Billington, entrepreneur
Rest in peace our dear Queen.
The great affection and love held for you will forever be your legacy.
You were a truly remarkable and inspiring woman and will be missed always