I am sure society members, both past and present, will be tremendously saddened to hear of the untimely death of Rosemary who passed away in hospital on July 1st after contracting pneumonia and other complications following a fall at home. 

Without Rosemary the Whitby and District Astronomical Society would in all probability not exist today. It was Rosemary's night class on astronomy way back in 1994, when she was tutoring for Hull University, which drew together a group of already keen and novice amateur astronomers for the 6 week course. Having thoroughly enjoyed the night class it was agreed to continue as an astronomy group, before becoming a fully fledged society in late 1996.

Rosemary always enjoyed the society Christmas meal.  

Throughout the years, Rosemary was ever present, becoming treasurer/administrator, organising monthly society meets, initially at the Mission to Seamen and then at Whitby College, travelling on numerous excursions and attending society events, including our Christmas meals, which she always greatly enjoyed. Back in the early days of the society, Rosemary would bring along 'Hubble 2' to star party events - a reflecting telescope and tripod from a bygone age. Together we have enjoyed many highlights, including a visit to the Dark Matter facility at Boulby, trips to the National Space Centre, Jodrell Bank and the Royal Observatories in Edinburgh, as well as our annual jaunt over to the Leeds Astromeet which Rosemary always looked forward to. There was also the memorable week in France to view the total solar eclipse in 1999, a wonderful adventure organised by Scarborough AS, the memories of which Rosemary always treasured. 

Rosemary making a 'Comet' at a society meeting

Rosemary played a major role in securing the venue's for the visits of Paul Money for his annual presentations, originally at the Mission to Seamen and then at the Whitby Pannett Park Museum, where Rosemary had many contacts being a member of the 'Lit and Phil' society. For many years Rosemary had also been a keen bell ringer at St Mary's church, indeed the two ropes used to pull round the observatory dome, were ex bell ringing ropes. Rosemary was passionate about the environment and having been a Marine Biologist for many years, was extremely knowledgeable on the subject.

Rosemary viewing a transit of Mercury in 2016 from outside the Bruce Observatory

(click for larger image)

For the 2004 'Venus Transit' festival, Rosemary was one of the organising steering committee group, securing the use of the North Ridings educational inflatable planetarium - which for the festival was housed down in the Pavilion under croft. Rosemary, together with all those society members involved never forgot those few days. Always a stalwart, Rosemary was on hand for countless star parties, including Regatta and various outreach events and was ever present at society monthly meetings, even when it became clear Rosemary was struggling with her legs. It was only in the last few years (before the pandemic) that Rosemary really became unable to attend events. Rosemary's funeral took place at Kirkleathem Crematorium on 19th July, and as Mark was unable to attend in person due to a prior engagement, society member John Randles very kindly represented the society.

We extend our condolences to Rosemary's family and friends, and she will be hugely missed by the society, but we will always remember Rosemary from many, many, happy occasions.