A lifelong Conservative who taught generations of Ilkley children has died at the age of 97.

Marjorie Hawkesworth, a well-known figure in the town and Ben Rhydding, passed away on May 19.

The daughter of a pit worker, Marjorie Buck was born on January 1, 1913, in the Derbyshire colliery village of Creswell.

Winning a scholarship to The Brunts School, Mans-field, she went on to qualify as a teacher at Lincoln Training College.

She taught in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire before working at Worksop Central School, where she met Stanley Hawkesworth, a science teacher, whom she married in 1937.

In 1948, Stanley was appointed to Ilkley Grammar School and they bought a house in Ben Rhydding, where she was to live for the rest of her life.

After having a family, Marjorie returned to teaching in the 1950s, working part-time at Winton School, a small private school in a house at the end of the terrace where she lived. In 1959, she started teaching full-time at Ben Rhydding Secondary Modern School.

As West Riding County Council grew concerned about the future of those not selected for grammar school education by the eleven-plus examination, the curriculum expanded and Marjorie agreed to teach French to O level, which she continued to do after the amalgamation of the grammar school and the secondary modern school.

She retired in 1974, but stayed in contact with many of her pupils and remained a familiar figure in Ben Rhydding. In her final years, when she could no longer get out or garden, she sat reading in the bay window of her house where she could ‘keep obs’ on and wave to passers-by. Stanley, known as Seth to most Grammar School pupils, died in 1994.

Described as a pre-Thatcher Thatcherite, Marjorie was a staunch Conservative, views she could probably attribute to her parents. Although her father was a surface worker at the pit and paid by the hour, he and his wife owned a detached house, sent two daughters to independent school and voted a straight Tory ticket all their lives.

When Carters shop was no longer available as the Ben Rhydding Conservative Committee room on election days, Marjorie’s kitchen was pressed into service for several years.

Marjorie is survived by sons John and Peter, both of whom live in Ben Rhydding, and her daughter-in-law, Anne, current leader of the Conservative Group on Bradford Council.

Her husband and grandson Nicholas both predeceased her.