Former Mayoress and at heart of her community, Sheila Brown

Sheila and Clarence pictured when they celebrated their golden wedding
Sheila and Clarence pictured when they celebrated their golden wedding

Tributes have been paid to former Mayoress of Todmorden, Sheila Brown, who passed away on July 24.

Along with her husband Clarence, who died in 2006, she was one of the town’s two leading citizens as Mayoress when Clarence, became Mayor in 1981-82.

Sheila, who was 83, was also very active in a number of community groups and organisations until the end of her life.

Born at Honey Hole, Todmorden, eldest daughter to Roy and Lily Rimmington, she went to Vale School and then Cornholme School, and the village became her home for most of her life.

She started work as a machinist at Fleming’s, Harehills Mill, Todmorden, but moved to work as a weaver - something she was much keener to learn - at Joshua Smith’s mill at Frostholme, Cornholme.

Sheila and Clarence met in 1948 when he was demobbed after serving in the army in Palestine, and they married in 1953.

She worked at Smith’s for a long number of years until the couple’s son, Duncan, was born in December 1964, from when she devoted more time to her family. Her interests included embroidery work, making clothes and knitting, as well as enjoying another hobby, walking.

Sheila also worked at some part time jobs, including McNulty’s grocers in Cornholme and back at Frostholme Mill on the office cleaning team - by this time it was home to furniture manufacturer Alan Cooper’s.

Clarence had become a Cornholme ward councillor on Todmorden Town Council in the mid 1970s, and they were both delighted to serve the town in that civic year 1881-82, as her sister Margaret remembers: “She was absolutely delighted. She was so proud, and they enjoyed seeing all the people they met, and kept in touch with quite a lot of them afterwards.”

Sheila was a churchwarden and Mother’s Union member at St Michael’s Church, Cornholme, and played a role in the Thursday Club which ran for some years there, a social group which met and went on trips.

She was was involved in the Patients’ Participation Group when there was the joint Cornholme and Walsden practice.

Clarence had been involved in the SSAFA (Forces Help) charity in Todmorden, and after he passed away she helped out in his place.

Her duties as a volunteer church sitter at St Mary’s in Todmorden town centre often saw her show visitors around the church and in later life Sheila was a volunteer at the Friends of Overgate shop on Halifax Road, Todmorden, until she fell ill.

She leaves her son, Duncan, daughter-in-law Amanda and grandsons Ben and Sam, as well as her sister Margaret and her family.

Sheila’s funeral was held at St Michael’s Church on August 4.