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Empty chair tribute to Ivy as friends mourn

The Royal British Legion Abbots Langley branch leads the funeral procession of Ivy Young, who died on February 2.

The Royal British Legion Abbots Langley branch leads the funeral procession of Ivy Young, who died on February 2.

An empty chair will stand in a parish council meeting as a tribute to Ivy Young, who dedicated her whole life to supporting the Abbots Langley community.

The councillor died on Saturday, February 2, just days before her 83rd birthday. A severe stroke in November had left her unable to move more than her left hand.

Leisure committee chairman Jane Lay said: “At our next meeting we will leave a chair spare to say that’s where Ivy was, to show our appreciation for all the work she did for the parish.”

Ivy had lived her entire life in the house in which she was born, on Langley Lane.

Her funeral, held on Monday at St Lawrence Church, was attended by fellow councillors and British Legion colleagues, some of whom remembered Ivy for her years of service to both institutions.

Parish council chairman Keith Williams said: “She was very passionate about the village and cared about maintaining the ambience we have here.

“She had been in the council chamber for as long as any of the rest of us have been here, and made her views known when she really believed in an issue. That will be one thing I am sure we will all miss.”

Ivy was the longest-serving member of the council at the time of her death, having first been elected in 1995.

She had been chairman for two of her five terms, led the planning committee for many years and also worked on the leisure committee.

Jane, who is also a member of Abbots Langley cricket club, of which Ivy was vice-president, said: “She was a gentle, sincere person, and took all her work seriously and diligently. Everything she did, she put her all into.”

Ivy was also secretary of the Royal British Legion’s Abbots Langley branch before she died, and was the organiser of its annual poppy appeal. She raised an average of between £7,000 and £8,000 a year.

Ivy had a keen interest in sports such as cricket and tennis, and had a love of music. She had been a pianist and singer since childhood.

Close friend and British Legion colleague Frank Rouse said: “She had a beautiful voice and at one stage had her own band. Later on in life, she used her talents to play for elderly people at functions.

“She got involved in anything to do with the community, a truly lovely woman.”

In her busy life, Ivy still found time to be on the Citizens Advice Bureau committee as well as a member of the Royal Air Forces Association.

It is also thought she was among the founders of Abbots Langley’s first neighbourhood watch scheme.

Sadly, Ivy’s health deteriorated after her stroke. She was cared for at Hemel Hempstead’s stroke unit, where she later died.

Frank, who was with Ivy at the time of her stroke and visited her daily, said: “Not long before she was taken ill, she was scrubbing down the war memorial to make sure it looked nice during the poppy appeal. That’s just the sort of woman she was, and she will be sorely missed.”

 

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