Ambleside’s first woman priest, the Reverend Doreen Harrison, has died aged 87.

Born in 1932 in Marton, near Blackpool, Doreen was brought up in Yorkshire, and gained a scholarship to Bradford Girls Grammar School.

Having graduated in Geography from Leeds University in 1953, followed by her PGCE, she was awarded the Forsyth Prize in Education and an Advanced Diploma in Religious Education in 1957.

She moved to Ambleside in 1961 with her mother, Florence, to take up a post at Charlotte Mason College of Education.

Here she established and developed the Geography department and also gained an MA in Education and an M.Litt in Geography from Lancaster University.

She not only played an important role in the life of the college for over 30 years but also in local life, serving the community as a councillor for Lakes Parish Council.

Having retired from education in 1992, Miss Harrison was ordained a deacon in the Church of England and was further ordained as one of Cumbria’s first 15 women priests in 1994 at Kendal Parish Church.

She then served as assistant priest at St Mary’s Parish Church, Ambleside and shortly afterwards she was appointed vicar of three parishes, at Rusland, Satterthwaite and Colton, for the next seven years. She devoted her rural ministry to caring for the scattered farming community, visiting farming families, schools and parishioners. She also reintroduced the traditional out-of-doors Rogation services, blessing livestock in the fields.

In 1996 she became associate priest of Rydal and Grasmere, retiring in 2013, and in 1999, she was appointed as chaplain to the weekly Auction Mart at Ulverston where her role took on a special importance during the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak as a listening ear and counsellor to distraught farmers, whose stock had been devastated by the epidemic.

Her solicitor, Nick Davenport, paid tribute to her commitment to the Church.

“Doreen’s fulfilment of her lifetime vocation to the Church gave her profound thankfulness," he said.

"She enjoyed her pastoral work among people, including over 12 years as chaplain to Ulverston. She had many interests including social and historical geography, Cumbria studies, planning and community issues, architecture, conservation and fieldwork. She will be missed by many in the Ambleside area and surrounding districts.”

Doreen died on Good Friday and her burial took place on May 1 at St Mary’s Church, Ambleside.