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Tributes paid to charity stalwart Sheila Sykes
TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known York woman whose body was found near a York village.
Sheila Sykes, 73, of Dunnington, a long-serving fundraiser and founding member of York Against Motor Neurone Disease (YAMND), was last seen leaving her home at 8pm on Friday.
Family and police became increasingly concerned for Mrs Sykes’ welfare as her disappearance was out of character.
Following a huge search, a body was found in the River Derwent near Hagg Wood, Dunnington, on Sunday. It was yesterday confirmed to be that of Mrs Sykes.
Mrs Sykes – who had helped set up YAMND in 1989 having lost a parent to the illness – was a “joy to be around” and a popular woman who “lit up the room with her smile”, a friend has said.
Hazel Allison, chair of YAMND, said on behalf of the charity: “Sheila served as a major fundraiser for the charity until 2009. During this time she raised an enormous amount of money for the charity she felt so passionately about.
“She took part in golfing days (another of her passions), bucket-rattling turns and packing bags in supermarkets, all with a sense of fun and energy others would find difficult to match.
“Despite retiring as a fundraiser for the charity in 2009 she remained a member and supported events, often drumming up tremendous support from her huge circle of friends.
“Without Sheila, YAMND would not exist today, offering the support which is so gratefully received from those suffering from motor-neurone disease in and around York.
“She was such a lovely person to be around and will be greatly missed by many. Everyone involved in YAMND is devastated at the loss of Sheila and our thoughts are with her family.”
Mrs Sykes’ family had issued an appeal for help through The Press in finding her on Sunday morning as volunteers from the Scarborough Search & Rescue Team searched Hagg Wood, south east of Dunnington, while members of the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team searched the banks of the River Derwent, with air support from a police helicopter.
Her body was found in the river by the Swaledale team at about 5pm, a spokesman for Scarborough & Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team said.
Mrs Sykes is survived by her husband, Tony.