Tributes pour in for Bloom queen Norah

Norah Hoyles in one of her best-known guises, as a driving force behind the Garstang in Bloom organisation.
Norah Hoyles in one of her best-known guises, as a driving force behind the Garstang in Bloom organisation.
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Countless tributes have been paid to community champion and former mayor, Norah Hoyles.

Norah was much-loved in Garstang and its surrounding villages due to her sheer dedication to bettering the community; something that culminated in her being awarded an MBE by the Queen herself at Buckingham Palace in 2008.

Garstangs Christmas lights switch on

Garstangs Christmas lights switch on

The well-known businesswoman and former chairwoman of the Chamber of Trade was the driving force behind Garstang In Bloom for more than two decades and had also held office as the town’s Mayor and as a town councillor.

As well as volunteering, Cockerham-born Norah ran Top Notch hairdressers in Croston Road up until her retirement from the trade in 2007. She was also vital in bringing about the town’s Victorian Christmas Festival in its early years.

Damian Carr, from the festival’s committee, said: “She was an invaluable help at the lights switch on and setting up of the crib in the market house. She will be very much missed by us all, such a lovely lady.”

Norah gained a special RHS (Royal Horticultural Award) in 2010 for her “community championing” and it was as the chair of Garstang in Bloom that she ensured Garstang had winning flower power year after year, inspiring volunteers to join her horticultural mission to make the town a centre of floral excellence.

Her successor as Chair of the “Bloomers” Alan Pearson said: “It’s a great loss to us. She led the team for 25 years - sometimes almost single handedly. She was a complete stalwart and she will be a very difficult act to follow.”

Coun Peter Murphy said: “I’m sure that the Royal Horticultural Society will be making sure that there is a lasting legacy to her.”

The funeral is on Friday, March 2 at 11.30am at St Thomas’s church in Garstang, followed by cremation at Preston crematorium at 1.30pm.

Norah, 70, had been suffering from cancer.