A SINGING teacher from Stourport who touched the hearts of many across the area with her love of music has died, aged 96.

Judith Knowles worked by day in the science lab during the war at the Steatite but entertained at music clubs and charities in the evenings and at church on the weekends.

She sang in both the professional and amateur worlds during her life, never charging for singing in church as her grandmother told her that God had given her a voice so she should never charge him.

Judith was regularly on stage at the Kidderminster Playhouse and was one of the first to perform at the new Stourport Civic Centre.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Judith Knowles on stageJudith Knowles on stage

One of her proudest memories was singing opera with Geraint Evans on BBC Wales in the 1950s.

She taught singing to adults at the Midland School for Singing and when approached by Ravenhurst School Stourport to teach music, she found a new gift where she was able to help many children who had special educational needs from dyslexia to school phobia.

She seemed to be able to communicate and instil confidence into the children through fun and laughter.

With her first husband Stanley James, Judith shared her love of life and fun with Cubs and Scouts and many will recall lining up for their cooked breakfast in the morning and woe betide anyone who broke an egg whilst on cooking duty.

Following the premature death of Stan, Judith became more involved with St Michaels, taking on the role of choir mistress and teaching in the Sunday School.

Here she met her second husband Geoffrey Knowles. Together, Geoff and Judith were a formidable force for good. They campaigned tirelessly for the survival of Kidderminster Hospital, spending many hours canvassing.

They worked in both the Kidderminster Hospital League of Friends Shop and the coffee shop in the hospital itself.

During the millennium decade, they helped to inaugurate the Friends of York House and raised thousands to help York Street practice update their facilities.

Judith's tea cakes, apple pies and general catering were well-known. In fact, sales at church and York House were always sold out and she had difficulty accommodating the number of pre-orders she would receive.

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Almost three years ago, she moved to where she had spent many hours in her youth, Tan Lane School, but now living in one of the retirement apartments there.

From her balcony, she could look across to her childhood home and playground. Even here she became involved in supporting and organising social activities.

Sadly, Judith did not receive her Covid vaccine and, unable to see her local doctor in January, visited A&E in Worcester where it's thought she contracted the virus.

She passed peacefully on January 31, but her passion for music will live on in the many pupils she had for piano and singing.

She is survived by her son Bob, daughter Vivienne, her step sons Julian and Steve, nine grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.