A much-loved woman who was a stalwart of a number of community groups in Keswick has died after contracting coronavirus, aged 84.
Kath Smith had been a regular visitor to the Lake District when she was younger and after moving to Keswick more than 30 years ago soon immersed herself into the life of the town.
Born at Nelson in Lancashire, Mrs Smith was head girl at the town’s grammar school before moving on to the University of Manchester where she graduated with a BA honours in geography.
She went on to study as a teacher of the deaf and taught in schools for the deaf in Manchester, Bristol, Warrington and St. Helens.
She met her husband, Alan at Manchester University and the couple recently celebrated 61 years of marriage.
They had two children, Peter and Ann, and four grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Mrs Smith, who had been coming on holiday to Keswick most of her life, moved with Alan to Brandlehow Crescent in 1986, and then on to Grange Park in 1991.
In her early years in the town she was devoted to the outdoors and walking the Lakeland fells.
She completed all 214 Wainwrights and the Coast to Coast walk and being a strong swimmer from childhood she was a regular at Keswick Leisure Pool until its closure last March during the first lockdown.
She became a member of Keswick Methodist Church in the 1980s, and for many years helped to run the mother and toddler group, getting to know many of the youngsters in the town, who now have families of their own.
She was also part of the church house group for 12 years.
Mrs Smith was a volunteer with Keswick in Bloom and her particular focus was the annual hanging basket displays. She was also a member of Keswick Inner Wheel and served as secretary in the group’s early years.
As well as her many volunteer roles, Mrs Smith was also a regular member of a number of local societies – Keswick Natural History Society, Keswick Lecture Society, the Friends of Keswick Museum and the North Lakes Horticultural Society.
She was also a willing participant with her husband in events with the Cumberland and Westmorland Geological Society and the Cumbria Vernacular Buildings Group.
She and her family loved camping holidays in Britain and her geographical training inspired her to travel much further afield with trips across Europe and to North America, South Africa, Singapore, the Far East, Australia and New Zealand.
In recent times Mrs Smith’s mobility became restricted and life became orientated around home, family and church, although she remained an ardent birdwatcher.
Visits into the countryside became restricted to a few favourite local walks and to local bird reserves.
“After a fall at home in November she was admitted to the Cumberland Infirmary and spent almost two months struggling with a broken hip and a series of complications,” said Mr Smith.
“Being unable to have hospital visiting caused her great distress. Unfortunately she contracted coronavirus in the hospital, contributing ultimately to her death.
“Kath had a real zest for life and I have been touched to have received many tributes since her death, referring to her as a gentle, friendly, caring lady.”
Mrs Smith died on January 19 and a cremation service, for family only, is arranged for February 8.