Folk scene mourns Jan Pickles

Jan Pickles with her husband, Geoff
Jan Pickles with her husband, Geoff

Tributes have been paid to a stalwart’ of the Cleckheaton Folk Festival.

Jan Pickles, who was a committee member for 31 years, died aged 72 on August 27 in Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield.

Jan and her husband Geoff, steered the festival for 21 years from its debut in 1988 to the 21st festival in 2009. Friends said Jan was a fighter who over the years bravely fended off two bouts of breast cancer, bowel cancer, skin cancer and was being treated in hospital for Leukaemia when she had a stroke.

Janice Minich, who took over from Jan as the festival’s administrator, said: “Jan and Geoff ran the folk festival for the first 21 years, Geoff was the director and Jan was the administrator.

“She has been a stalwart of the festival since it began in 1988. She was cheerful, friendly and welcoming.

“She was also extremely hard working.”

Current festival director Dave Minich said: “Jan Pickles was a well-known and respected figure in the local community and in the National Folk World.”

He added: “For Jan it was one cancer too many, for the many friends and family she left behind it will leave a huge gap in their lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with Geoff at this most moving time.”

Jan leaves behind her husband Geoff, daughters Joanne and Alison and grandchildren Patrick, Matthew, Dan, Emma, Tom and Zach.

Mrs Pickles’ funeral will take place at Dewsbury Crematorium on Friday, September 7 at 10.30am. People will remember her too afterwards at the Wickham Arms in Cleckheaton.

Jan expressed a wish for bright clothing to be worn and for donations to be made to the charity, Brain Tumour Research and Support, in memory of her son Simon.