A FORMER Lord Mayor of Oxford, Lady Patsy Yardley, has died aged 85.

Lady Yardley served a term as Lord Mayor in 1989/90, but she was also a respected and likeable city councillor for many years.

Her husband was the late Professor Sir David Yardley, a respected law lecturer at the University of Oxford, former chairman of Oxford Preservation Trust and Local Government Ombudsman from 1982 to 1994.

Patsy Olver was born on July 22, 1933, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where her dad Basil worked as a tin mining engineer.

She was an only child and returned to the UK with her mum, Doris, known as Dodo, when the Second World War began, while her dad joined the Royal Engineers.

Oxford Mail:

Lady Patsy Yardley with her husband, Sir David

Aged five, Patsy was sent to a strict boarding school run by nuns, although she enjoyed a much happier time at secondary school in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Patsy remained in contact with school friends for decades, before attending art college and qualifying as a book illustrator.

She met her husband aged 19, while helping at a children’s party. They instantly clicked and were engaged after five months, before marrying in July 1954.

The couple’s first house was in Dorchester, near Wallingford, but their first proper 'home' was in Sunderland Avenue, north Oxford.

Both wanted a large family and children Adrian, Heather, Briony and Alistair were born in 1956, 1958, 1960 and 1962 respectively.

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The family soon moved again and settled in nearby Belbroughton Road, which was home for 50 years.

Lady Yardley was first elected as a Conservative Oxford city councillor in the 1960s and remained in the role on-and-off until the 1990s.

She also represented Iffley as a county councillor from 1977 to 1981, but she will be best remembered for her term as Lord Mayor of Oxford in 1989/90.

Lady Yardley was loved for her human touch and sense of humour, offering valuable campaign advice, including: “Don’t kiss the babies, just remember to stroke the cats.”

Cats and classical music were a huge part of her life and she combined the two as a small-scale breeder, with her breeder’s prefix ‘Papagena’ taken from Mozart’s Die Zauberflote.

Oxford Mail:

Many of Lady Yardley’s Burmese cats won ‘Best in Show’ titles at various events, several of which were hosted at Cowley Conservative Club, with one even crowned ‘Supreme Best Adult’ cat.

Painting was another talent, while Lady Yardley was also a skilled seamstress, machine knitter and keen patchwork quilter, designing and creating many beautiful clothes and cushions.

In 2016, two years after Sir David died from poor health, Lady Yardley downsized to a flat in Ritchie Court with her two remaining cats.

She later moved with her cats to an extra care flat in Wallingford to be nearer her daughter, Heather.

Last month, Lady Yardley was admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital with flu and pneumonia, before dying in hospital on January 24, with her daughters by her side.

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She is survived by four children, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Her funeral is at Oxford Crematorium on Friday, February 22, at 12pm, and the reception in Wychwood School, Oxford.