Died 1 February 2014, aged 90: A Sandal-born woman who became the first female High Sheriff of West Yorkshire died at her daughter’s home. Elizabeth Whitaker, OBE, was born on 29 March 1923 in Sandal and attended Wakefield Girls High School where she was head girl. While she was a student at the school she became known by the nickname ‘Pretty Grim’ due to her family surname, Grimshaw. She maintained a lifelong relationship with the school and was a governor for 16 years, holding a similar post at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School,
She had a son and daughter, John and Philippa, with her first husband Arthur Brian Robinson, one of the family that owned the Wakefield Express group of newspapers. Arthur died in 1956 but five years late she married consultant cardiologist William Whitaker.
Richard Taylor, a member of the SCA committee, was editorial director of the newspaper group until he retired in 1999. He said: “Elizabeth was a significant shareholder until the newspapers were taken over by Johnston Press in 1985. She was a determined and hard-working lady and we all benefited from her wonderful, dry sense of humour.” Mrs Whitaker had lived with her daughter in Aberdeen for the past 18 months as her health deteriorated. Her funeral took place at St John’s Church, Wakefield.
Go to the Wakefield Express website for a further tribute and photo here