A MUCH-LOVED York businesswoman and musician has died aged 64 after battling illness.

Denise Bull ran her popular cafe Chloes of York next to Barnitts in Colliergate for ten years before it closed in March this year, due to her ill health.

Denise had suffered from pulmonary hypertension, a condition that affects the blood vessels in the lungs and for which there is no cure. She ran the cafe - named after the family dog - with help from husband, Alan and daughters Victoria and Laura.

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York Press: Chloes of York which Denise and the family ran for a decadeChloes of York which Denise and the family ran for a decade (Image: Supplied)

She was born in Bishop’s Stortford,  Hertfordshire and went to Broadfields junior school in Harlow in Essex. She went on to go to Netteswell comprehensive in 1967 where she joined the youth band and school choir, starting playing the baritone horn in the band.

Her husband Alan said: "Great friendships began to develop and some extremely talented young musicians resulted from the band. 

"They achieved great acclaim with winning efforts at the Eisteddfod and Opportunity Knocks followed these talented groups which also included invites for many high profile concerts and even to play in Westminster Abbey. In the end three vinyl records and a final concert CD were produced."

The band became Denise’s passion and they toured many European countries including Switzerland, Germany and Norway several times. 

Denise showed interest in helping with the running of the band from an early age and she became the band treasurer in later years.

Alan said: "These kids learnt so much beyond the music as a result of this band and became shining examples of switched on young people.

"This gave Denise so much impetus, belief and drive to teach and help young people who given the opportunities and nurtured in these environments turned into amazing kids and people without exception.

"The band certainly was a key influence that significantly helped shape Denise and made her the truly wonderful person that we have all known, loved and admired.

"Denise joined Bishop's Stortford band again with some very talented young players and for several years gave a very talented young musician call Geoff Leach a lift to band practice twice a week.

"It was clear that he was destined for greater things and Geoff can now be seen playing the keyboards on Strictly Come Dancing."

Denise started working for M&S on a weekend as a teenager and in the end worked for the company for 40 years in roles including office manager and then opening up new stores especially the simply food stores.

Denise and Alan met in 1979 and were married in 1983 at St Mary's Old Harlow. Their first daughter, Victoria, was born in 1989.

Alan had worked for Smith and Nephew Research from the age of 16 after joining them in 1977 and in 1991 they  announced that they were relocating the research centre to York science park in 1992 and the couple relocated with them and Laura was born in York Hospital the same year.

Denise continued to work for M&S part time in York and began to join groups and make friends in York, joining the Railway Institute band.

With the children at Lakeside School in Clifton Moor, Denise started a small music class and began to teach any children that were interested in the recorder.

York Press: Denise with daughters, Victoria and LauraDenise with daughters, Victoria and Laura (Image: Supplied)

Alan said: "As ever she was always one of the first in any queue to help out with anything that she could. She went on to become a school governor and she was also a key member of a small team that set up the Clifton Moor after school club which is still thriving to this day."

Food and people were always Denise’s passion and this lead to the realisation of a dream that Denise had to own her own tearoom after retiring from M&S.

She opened Chloe's in September 2013 and the popular tearoom evolved into a local hub that attracted many regulars and community groups such as several groups of knitting ladies, craft groups and dementia groups.

Alan said: "Many customers have subsequently become great friends.

"The tearoom was hard work at times but the people we met helped to make it a very rewarding business.

"Denise’s prime role was “head of customer relations” this meant that she would often sit for hours chatting with some of our lovely customers and suppliers. She was known and cherished by everyone she met and never had a bad word for anyone."

Denise joined the Shepherd Group Concert Band and as well as playing helped to teach the new players.

York Press: Denise played with Shepherd Concert BandDenise played with Shepherd Concert Band (Image: Supplied)

Denise loved to travel and in recent years, with Victoria working for the Princess Cruise line, she travelled around the Caribbean several times and latterly went on a Panama canal cruise where she celebrated her 60th birthday and Victoria celebrated her 30th birthday on board.

York Press: Denise on holiday in PanamaDenise on holiday in Panama (Image: Supplied)

Denise's funeral will take place on Friday, November 24 at 10.15am St Lawrence's Church in Lawrence Street.

Alan said: "Denise will be getting her wish and her ashes will join her mum and dad in the churchyard in St Mary’s Old Harlow where we were married 40 years ago. This will happen on our anniversary in 2024. I'll be driving Denise to the church in her 1988 white golf GTI convertible with the hood down, furry dice flying and Denise’s ashes strapped into the passenger seat beside me!

"God bless my darling until we meet again."

York Press: Denise and Alan on holidayDenise and Alan on holiday (Image: Supplied)