First female High Sheriff of Lancashire dies, aged 83

Judy Duckworth.
Judy Duckworth.

Lancashire’s first woman High Sheriff and only woman Vice Lord-Lieutenant has died at home in Kirkby Lonsdale, aged 83.

Becoming the first woman High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1994, Judy Duckworth carried out her duties with quiet dignity and humility, including looking after High Court judges.

Judith Josa Duckworth was born in 1933, the third daughter of Frank and Beatrice Verdon, in Liverpool.

After marrying Peter Duckworth in 1959, they had three children and lived at Arkholme, Bleasdale Tower, Sedbergh and, for the last three years, Kirkby Lonsdale.

Mrs Duckworth was appointed a magistrate in 1973, serving for 30 years at Garstang, Fleetwood and Lancaster.

She was also president of the Lune Valley RNLI and chairman of Garstang NSPCC.

She was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant and, in 2005, Vice Lord-Lieutenant for three years.

Mrs Duckworth represented Lancashire at the Queen’s 80th birthday service in St Paul’s Cathedral and also hosted visits to the county by the Princess Royal, the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Gloucester and the Earl of Wessex.

Tributes to her life were paid at a memorial service at St Peter’s Church, Stonyhurst College on December 13.

Lord Shuttleworth, Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, said: “Through all the grand events and people, Judy never forgot the human side of it all, her interest in others and the importance of her family,

“It was indeed a remarkable and wonderful journey.”

Her son, Jeremy, said she saw her voluntary activities as putting something back into the community and society..

“They all took large amounts of commitment, patience and that rarest of commodities nowadays – time.”