Olive Clarke OBE, a well-known figure across Westmorland and Cumbria, was honoured at an event hosted by CLA Cumbria Branch Chair Susie Villiers-Smith and husband Rupert, to celebrate Olive’s 100th birthday in May.
Olive was presented with a card and gift by CLA President Mark Tufnell. In his speech, Mark reflected on her ground-breaking work at the CLA, and also by being the first woman to become a branch President in the 1980s.
In her speech, Olive’s sharp wit was reflect in her ambition to send Her Majesty The Queen, a birthday card when she turns a 100! Around 40 fellow CLA members and colleagues attended the event.
Born in 1922, Olive of Kaker Mill Farm in Preston Patrick near Milnthorpe, has had a life-long commitment to rural issues across Cumbria, by being actively involved in various public and organisational roles.
Olive came to prominence in Westmorland in her role as first local Chairman and then County Chairman of the Women’s Institute. Having been involved with the Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs for more than 80 years, she became it its first woman Chairman, and was the first person to be made Honorary Life Vice-President in 2013.
Olive has also been a member of the CLA for nearly 50 years, serving in various roles, initially as a committee member for Westmorland and Furness in the 1980s, before being elected as chairman, and subsequently Branch President. In addition, serving as a CLA Council member from 1984-1988.
In 1994, she was awarded with an OBE for her role in saving the Carlisle/Settle railway, by first being a member of the North West England Transport Consultative Committee, and later appointed as chairman of this group, and also chairman of the Carlisle/Settle Inquiry. Other public service roles included being a Magistrate, County as well as Parish Councillor.