Funeral takes place of former mayoress of Melton

Sylvia Smart, former Mayoress of Melton, who has died EMN-150911-161719001
Sylvia Smart, former Mayoress of Melton, who has died EMN-150911-161719001
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The funeral of Sylvia Smart, a former Mayoress of Melton, has taken place at Barkestone-le-Vale Church.

Sylvia, who was 82, is probably best known for serving as first lady of the borough in 1977, after husband Don was elected Mayor.

It was a particularly busy year for the couple as it coincided with the Queen’s silver jubilee and they were proud that they managed to visit every school in the borough.

Sylvia, who celebrated her diamond wedding anniversary with Don last year, was born into a hard-working Nottingham family in 1933. Her father was a butcher and her mother ran a dairy.

She ran several businesses with her husband - they built up their pig-farming business, they ran the abattoir in Melton and then expanded into sheep breeding and farming.

Sylvia started a bed and breakfast business in the 1970s and it flourished in the 1980s with several television and film actors staying there when they filmed in the area.

She was an extra in the Little Lord Fauntleroy movie which was partly shot at Belvoir Castle and was proud to have her photograph taken with one of its stars, Sir Alec Guinness, on the film set.

In 1987 Sylvia started a tearoom in Melton called Browsers, for which she initially cooked the food in her own kitchen at home.

She suffered several years of ill health towards the end of her life and six years ago was diagnosed with PSP, a little kown terminal brain disease.

Sylvia wanted to stay at home and Don cared for her, bathing and dressing herm, as well as cooking and cleaning and he also managed to take her out every day to a different restaurant or garden centre.

Sylvia finally went into a hospice but died two days later, on October 16, surrounded by her family.

She leaves widower Don, family Debbie, Beverley, Grenville, Chris and Tracy, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.