TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular keep-fit instructor and long-term fundraiser for the YEP’s Half and Half Appeal who has died at the age of 89.
Great-grandmother Hilda Mitchell ran weekly exercise classes for older ladies in north Leeds for more than 30 years, inspiring pupils with her motto “get moving and keep moving”.
She also raised thousands for the YEP’s Half and Half Appeal, which supports St Gemma’s Hospice and Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, and held a special fundraising class every year in aid of the cause.
Leeds Jewish Welfare Board chief executive Rebecca Weinberg said she was saddened by Hilda’s death on October 28, describing her as “a truly amazing woman and a legend” who inspired everyone she met.
She added: “During her many years volunteering at Leeds Jewish Welfare Board, Hilda made a huge difference to the lives and well-being of many people. Our keep-fit classes and Hilda were synonymous.
“We will miss her humour and tenacity and feel privileged to have known her.”
Hilda was born on Gathorne Terrace in Roundhay, Leeds, on New Year’s Eve 1922, to parents Sidney and Sarah Brown.
She became a fitness fanatic after serving in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) during the Second World War.
She was 24 when she married her late husband Alec, a maths teacher, in 1947 and the couple went on to have three children, David, Joy and Stephen.
She became a fitness instructor after joining a class at Moortown Corner House with friends, running her first class at the Queenshill Centre.
In later life, Hilda suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and was registered blind, but still managed to run four exercise classes every week, including one at the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Centre in Moortown.