Charity campaigner Kitty dies aged 87

Kitty Weston recieves her Belper news new years honours award.
Kitty Weston recieves her Belper news new years honours award.

A dedicated charity campaigner who raised thousands for cancer care and Belper’s Babington Hospital has died at the age of 87.

Kitty Weston, a former East Mill worker, who used her talents to knit and then sell goods to generate money for those less fortunate, died on Saturday.

She was rewarded for her efforts with a Belper News New Year’s Honour Awards in 2011 as one of eight inspirational victors of the prizes for 
unsung heroes.

In the early 1990s she was invited to the Queen’s garden party in recognition of her charity efforts.

She also ran stalls at Babington Hospital and helped the hospital’s league of friends group – raising money for 
machines for patients.

Speaking to the Belper News, her god-daughter, Julie Coffey, said this week: “She always put others before herself. She raised a lot of money and was always having her picture taken for the newspaper.

“One of the things people most remember about her is how she loved to sing. If a room was down, she would start to sing.”

Following 25 years of service at the mill, Kitty’s stories and reminiscences were recorded along with dozens of Derwent Valley mill workers from the past 100 years as part of a new art project.

Derbyshire County Council’s Memories Of The Mill Workers website featured artists using memories of 57 workers to create poems, videos and articles.

She took her “first proper job” at the age of 34 at the mill and was given a job winding cotton from one bobbin to 
another.

She then moved on to working with Leeson machines and “hot waxing”.

Two years ago, Kitty won one of our New Year’s Honours after being nominated for her 
tireless hard work.

Following the announcement she said: “I would like to thank the people who nominated me and all the 
people that have supported me over the years in raising money for Cancer Research and 
Babington Hospital.

“I always remember my mum when I was young saying if you cannot help people along life’s way it is time to close the book.”

She continued to come up with fundraising schemes and the following year knitted a 
colourful patchwork quilt to raise much-needed funds for the Autumn Club – which meets at the Strutts Community 
Centre, in Derby Road – of which she was a founder 
member.

The woollen quilt, which was about the size of a double bed, was made by ladies from the club.

She came up with the quilt idea after finding some knitting wool and needles lying around.