TRIBUTES have been paid to Wombwell High School’s first matron who died last week aged 98.

Sylvia Richardson was just one month shy of her 99th birthday when she died at Ward Green Lodge care home, where she had been a resident for the past four years.

Born in Low Valley, Sylvia married her husband Charles on January 1, 1943, and together the couple had three children - Lesley, Philip and Kevan.

“Mum was such a kind and loving person,” said Sylvia’s daughter, Lesley Waygood, 77. “She was always happy to help and was a part of so many organisations in Wombwell, she really loved where she lived.”

Sylvia was an avid singer and would often perform at Wombwell Baths during dances.

She was also a member of the now disbanded Wombwell Male Voice Choir where she was a soloist.

“She had such a beautiful voice,” added Lesley. “We used to get people knocking on the door, and they would ask mum is she would sing at parties or events, and she always said yes. She loved it.

“She was also the first matron at Wombwell High School and many of the girls remembered her. They said they liked her because they could go to her with their problems and she would listen and would offer advice, but wouldn’t judge. That was who mum was, she gave people the time, care, and love that they needed.

“She was so kind, and even towards the end when the dementia took hold, the staff at the home said she was always smiling and happy. That was who she was.”

Sylvia leaves behind her three children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.