Community’s Elsie dies, 96

Community campaigner Elsie Todd
Community campaigner Elsie Todd

A COMMUNITY campaigner who was awarded the British Empire Medal has died at the age of 96.

Elsie Todd, of Scalby Road, was given the honour in 1993 in recognition of her life-long contributions to St Peter’s Church and the community of Hackness, the village where she lived for most of her life.

After receiving a letter of notification from 10 Downing Street she told the Evening News: “It was a complete surprise and I feel it’s a great honour. I’m thrilled to bits.

“I’ve just got on quietly with my life. I don’t know what all the fuss is about really, but it is greatly appreciated.”

Her funeral service is being held at St Peter’s Church, Hackness, for which she served as church warden, at 12.45pm today.

The youngest of three-children, her great-grandfather George Todd owned and managed the Saltergate Inn, the staging post between Pickering and Scarborough on the top of the Yorkshire Moors.

Her grandfather William Todd took on the tenancy of Lord Derwent’s farm at Silpho in 1865, and Miss Todd’s father, George, worked on the farm until his marriage to Mary Knaggs when he took on the tenancy of Suffield Farm.

Miss Todd, who never married and had no children, was born in Suffield and went to Hackness School. She attended St Peter’s Church from a very young age.

She was 10 when her mother died, after which the family moved to Suffield Ings Farm. Following her father’s death, Miss Todd, her sister Mary and brother William continued to farm it.

She had special interests in the church, where she was treasurer for more than 30 years, the cricket club and the women’s institute.

William was church warden for more than 50 years until his death, when Miss Todd took his place. She was also secretary and treasurer of Hackness Tennis Club for more than 50 years.

She retired and moved to Wrench Green, near Hackness.

In 1993, at the age of 77, she was presented with the British Empire Medal by the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Sir Marcus Worsley, at Hovingham Hall.

Dressed in ceremonial regalia, including sword, Sir Marcus handed Miss Todd the medal and a signed letter from the Queen.

She was named in the New Year’s Honour’s list for her work in Hackness, delighting fellow residents who described her as a backbone of the community.

When news of the award was made public, she received more than 100 letters, cards and telephone calls from people expressing their congratulations.

Fellow church warden Moira Foxton said at the time: “Her whole life revolves around helping other people. She is just great.”

Miss Todd’s final years were spent in The Rambla Nursing Home in Scalby Road, where she died peacefully earlier this month.