TRIBUTES have been paid to a woman described as a 'tour de force' who lived life to the full,

Betty Cook, formerly Kemp, who lived in Pickering, passed away on April 27 aged 87 after suffering from vascular dementia for several years.

Her son,Tony, said the family were devastated at her death.

Tony said: "Wherever mother was in the world she left an inprint she really was 'a tour de force' no doubt.

"Mother, who was Pickerings very first Carnival Queen, met my father Colour Sergeant Richard Kemp of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards at the town's Castle Camp."

Following their marriage, they were initially stationed at Burniston Barracks in Scarborough then Windsor, Germany, Pirbright Surrey, Malacca Malaya and back to Pirbright.

"While in Malaya mother embroiled herself into the Officers Mess helping dad organise things and events with mother being well just mother."

Tony said: "One particular day Prince Philip turned up to officially open The Mountbatten High School. Mother was introduced to Prince Philip and was suitably impressed.Father and mother left the army in 1969 and moved to Pickering throwing themselves into Pickering Musical Society.

"Sadly dad died in 1980 and mother met John Cook, from Whitby who was a widower. They hit it off straight away both sharing their love of dancing together and subsequently married. Mother and John had many, many happy years together and the family could be seen at Kirk Theatre."

Tony said: "My mother was a remarkable woman, a wonderful human being, who devoted her life to two things, family always and of course Pickering Musical Society, in fact mum actually had two families one at home and one on the stage. It has been an absolute privilege to have been able to care for my beautiful mother over these last years. It's all we can do, all we can ask is to care for, to look after and to cherish our loved ones."

"Betty, a life well lived and a life well loved.Rest in Peace mum, we love you."