TYRELL: Jean, OBE
Died 26 January 2010, aged 91: Jean Margaret Tyrrell, of Woodthorpe Lane, Sandal, known to many as ‘Miss Harrap’, turned Sirdar into an international brand which pioneered fashionable knitting patterns in the 1970s and 80s. Her grandfather, Tom Harrap, started the family wool spinning firm in Ossett with his brother, Henry, in 1880. Ten years later the business moved to the site it currently occupies in Alverthorpe. Mrs Tyrrell became a firm fixture on the London fashion scene and struck up a long-lasting friendship with cosmetics guru Estee Lauder.
In 1985 the Sirdar company formed a partnership with businessman George Demetriou to build the Cedar Court Hotel. During the 1980s hand knitting became less popular with reduced demand for patterns and yarns, leading to the company being bought out in 2007.Mrs Tyrrell was awarded the OBE for her pioneering work and she also received an honorary law degree from the University of Leeds.