Mrs Joan Betts

THE funeral will take place on Monday of Joan Betts, the wife of the Rev Tony Betts from Knaresborough.

The couple moved to Northallerton last July when Rev Betts retired after 21 years working at St John’s Church. Joan sadly died on Friday, December 30, after a long illness.

She and her husband had celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary just the day before.

The funeral will be held at St John’s Church, Knaresborough, at noon.

Rev Betts paid this tribute to his wife:

Valerie Joan Betts (nee Morgan) was born on September 21, 1940. She grew up in Sedgley, near Wolverhampton, one of four children, and was known by her middle name, Joan. Her father had his own local haulage business.

Joan went to Leeds University to study Maths and Physics and met Tony there when he was studying Chemistry. After graduation, Joan did a year’s course at Manchester to qualify as a Teacher of the Deaf and Tony went to Wells Theological College.

The couple became engaged in February 1964 and were married at Wells Cathedral in December.

The pair moved to Leeds when Tony had the chance of starting ordained ministry at All Hallows, Hyde Park. They remained in Leeds until 1984 when they moved to Knaresborough.

During her time in Leeds, Joan had resumed her teaching career after having had her four children, David, Susan, Alistair and Matthew. She never had ambitions to become what she saw as a typical vicar’s wife – running the Mothers’ Union, organising the flower ladies (that was to come later!), acting as Lady Muck but living in the shadow of her husband. She wanted to be a person in her own right, being a young mum with a career outside the home and accepted alongside all the other women in church. In this ambition she succeeded wonderfully, and by doing so inevitably was a tower of strength to Tony and the children.

When the family moved to Knaresborough, Joan kept her teaching job in Leeds.

She was practical and talented as the family’s housekeeper: cooking, sewing and knitting, repairing, mending and baking, always with a smile, always patient and never a word of complaint.

Joan withdrew a little from teaching after Tony had an operation in May 2002, and eventually taught part-time and cultivated her skills as a nurse and carer.

Joan’s activities were reduced by an operation she had two years ago, and then crucially by the cancer which returned to her lungs about a year ago.

Joan was admired and dearly loved by all who came into contact with her, not least Tony and their children and grandchildren.

Her Christian faith, like so many aspects of her life, was so strong but so understated, and was her bulwark through times good and hard. We all miss her dreadfully, and pray that she may rest in peace.