My aunt, Judy Eggleton, who has died aged 73, was a volunteer and fundraiser for the St John Ambulance for many years and during that time she never let her disability hold her back.
Born in Leeds, she was the daughter of Tom Eggleton, who worked in the shoe trade, and his wife, Dorothy (nee Gale). When Judy was five she contracted polio which left her with a severe disability in one leg. Nevertheless, Judy had a happy childhood and enjoyed family holidays in the south of France, where she would go water-skiing.
She went to Leeds girls’ high school, where she was bullied, so she moved to Gateways school in the village of Harewood. After leaving Gateways, she lived in Wetherby with her parents and drove an adapted car that helped her to become independent. However, at the age of 19 she had a serious accident that injured her other leg, requiring many operations and hospital stays. Walking became extremely difficult.
Judy did not want to be defined by her disability. In the early 1970s she joined St John Ambulance, training in first aid and basic nursing. She would then attend events as a full member of the response team at Wetherby races and other large gatherings in West Yorkshire. She also raised significant funds through sponsored swims and collection drives for over 20 years. As a result, Judy received the Order of St John in 1994 in London.
Judy found great comfort in Christianity and treasured letters from the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. She was a strong swimmer, active in her church and loved her local community. She also travelled regularly to the US to see members of her extended family and visited Utah, Minnesota, Washington and Montana, often carrying a small flask of gin to make flying easier.
Judy lived on her own for 30 years in Wetherby. She was always cheerful and had an extensive group of friends and enjoyed phone calls, visits and gossip sessions. She particularly enjoyed watching Wimbledon tennis, the racing at Cheltenham and championship snooker. As her health deteriorated, she was supported by her friends, members of the clergy and many helpers.
She is survived by her nephew, Andrew, and nieces, Jill and me.