FAMILY and friends have paid tribute to 97-year-old Joan Newby, affectionately known to many as "Mrs Ambleside" for her love of the community where she spent her long, active life.

Mrs Newby died peacefully at home, surrounded by her family, and her funeral at St Mary's Church, Ambleside, was conducted by the Rev Canon Beth Smith, formerly a Girl Guide in Mrs Newby's troop.

A staunch upholder of village traditions, one of her earliest memories was taking part in the Ambleside Rushbearing procession aged three, in 1925. Later in life she helped organise the event, with husband Bill as marshal.

When Mr Newby died of cancer nearly 30 years ago, Mrs Newby was determined to help others and she helped to establish the Ambleside branch of CancerCare, which still meets weekly at the Kelsick Centre. Her legendary summer and Christmas fairs, jumble sales and coffee mornings raised around £130,000 in 27 years.

She rarely missed a CancerCare meeting, telling guests at Ambleside CancerCare’s 25th anniversary tea party in 2016: "We’re here, every Monday, to help people along every step of the way, to share glad times and sad times in what can be a difficult journey."

The great-grandmother was renowned for her extraordinarily detailed recall of Ambleside events and people, which she shared with Ambleside Oral History Group in recorded interviews. She gathered a remarkable collection of old photographs which filled eight albums and loved to chat to all who came to browse the pictures and relive past times.

Born in 1922 in Compston Road, the youngest of seven, she attended Ambleside Infants School and was awarded a scholarship to Kelsick Grammar School.

As a girl she was a keen Ambleside Brownie and Guide, and later became a Guider and Guide Captain, organising camps and activities for a generation of young girls.

Aged 16 she began work in the K Shoes offices in Kendal, and she did her war work in the offices at the Sunderland flying boat factory at White Cross Bay, then the Avro aircraft factory in Manchester, where Lancaster Bombers were built.

Despite her cheerful outlook on life, Mrs Newby experienced great sadness, yet always found the courage to smile again.

Aged 18 she became engaged to an RAF pilot from Windermere, who tragically died during a training exercise in the Scottish Highlands, having survived 20 successful sorties over Germany.

She also lost all three of her older brothers from the long-term effects of TB before any of them reached 30, but her mother advised her always to “Get your crying done, Joan, and pull yourself together – life goes on”, a lesson she never forgot.

In 1944 she became engaged to Bill Newby, from Windermere, but rarely saw him until after he was discharged from the army following four years’ service in the Far East with the Seaforth Highlanders.

The couple married in 1948 and had a daughter, Susan, and a son, Jonathan.

Mr and Mrs Newby were keen Scottish Country dancers, a legacy from Bill’s days as a loyal Seaforth Highlander.

Mrs Newby was proud to live at Kingston, Waterhead, named after Kingston-upon-Thames where she and her husband had spent their honeymoon.

She took in visitors over the next 60 years, only retiring at the age of 85.

Mrs Newby, whose son passed away in 2000, leaves a daughter, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.