To many in Wensleydale Irene Morton, who died aged 59-years on March 4, 2012, will be remembered for the way she supported so many local groups during the 30 years that she lived in that dale. But her family and friends will especially remember her bravery and great sense of humour during the time that she had motor neurone disease.
Irene was born in Clifton, York, in August 1952 and attended Queen Anne’s Grammar School before going to Farnborough College to do business studies. She then worked for three years at the office of Dunlop Tyres UK at Newcastle. In 1975 she was able to move back to York when she successfully applied to the Gofton’s accountancy firm. It was there that she met John Morton and they set up home together in April 1979.
In 1980 Gofton’s took over an accountancy firm which had offices in Leyburn and Thirsk and the Morton’s moved to Wensleydale. The links with the York office were severed a few years later and a new partnership was formed. Irene retired from the Barker Partnership in November 2010 due to the onset of motor neurone disease.
During her 30 years in Wensleydale she had not only been extremely supportive of her husband in all that he did including as a member of the local Round Table and Rotary clubs but also of all the activities that their son, Toby, was involved in such as the Beavers, the Scouts and Leyburn primary school. She served the Wensleydale Ladies Circle as secretary, treasurer and chairman at various times, and then as president for a while after she became a member of the Wensleydale Tangent Club. She was passionate about gardening and the new house they moved into at Wensley 1985 gave her ample opportunity to enjoy creating a beautiful garden and home.
The Morton’s moved in 2010 to Leyburn into a bungalow altered to provide her with many facilities and much enjoyment and it was there that she died very peacefully on March 4. The Mortons were a couple who worked and played together. They enjoyed skiing and sailing holidays and for many years had part shares in boats, firstly on Lake Windermere and then at Menorca and finally in Greece. They also loved visiting Madeira. They were members of the National Trust which provided her with an opportunity not only to see great houses but also to explore beautiful gardens. She never lost her love of watching nature programmes on TV, nor of those about house buying and renovation.
At the funeral service at Holy Trinity church, Wensley, on March 15, the Rev Sue Whitehouse thanked, on John’s behalf, the friends and carers who had helped his wife during the past two years. Half of the collection at the service was given to the Motor Neurone Disease Association. The close family at the funeral were: John Morton (husband); Toby Morton (son); Linda and Michael Rheinberg (sister and brother-in-law); Rita Walls (sister), her daughter Lisa Walls, and grandson Denzil; and Jackie and Malcolm Coggan (sister-in-law and her husband).
John has provided some more photographs: Irene at her 55th birthday party; with her sister Linda during a sailing holiday around the Greek islands; at Catherine Ford’s wedding, l-r Ruth Biker, Joyce Sunter, David Ford (with Joan Ford behind him), Irene and John; at one of her favourite places – St Katarina’s Gardens in Madeira overlooking the port; and with friends George and Helen Bennett and Linda and David Milner. I took the photo of her in late 2011 with Jacky Warden and Jacky’s granddaughter, Keira.