A TELEVISION personality who settled in Gargrave in 2009 has died.

Gifted tailor Ann Ladbury was born on March 5, 1932 in Balham, South London. Her earliest memory was around the age of 5, in the tailoring workroom at the top of the house. She was given her grandfather’s bone bodkin which she went on to use throughout her life. Ann followed in the footsteps of her father, a gifted Savile Row tailor. Her grandfather was a tailor in Berlin and before that, her great, great, great grandfather had made clothes for members of the Viennese Royal family

The family moved to Southgate and she attended East Barnet Grammar School, Leicester Domestic Science College, and the Regent Street Polytechnic, graduating with a City and Guilds qualification in cookery and needlework. She always wanted to be a domestic science teacher and taught at Redditch Grammar School and Bromsgrove College, and was “discovered” by BBC programme makers in the 1960s. The fashion industry was really taking off and thousands of women were queuing up for dressmaking classes; the BBC wanted someone to present programmes showing viewers how to make garments step by step.

Ann enjoyed a high-profile career and has taught a generation of women the secrets of making clothes suitable for every occasion. Her TV fame also led to her meeting her partner of 22 years, the late John Harris, who produced the legendary Denis Potter Singing Detective series and won plaudits for his depiction of Charles Dickens’s Bleak House and a documentary on Shackleton’s conquest of the North Pole.

The programmes, which began with dressmaking for beginners, were a success and were watched by millions of women. Ann’s bookcases are crammed with books containing dress patterns in the back, which she wrote to accompany her television programmes.

“Making Clothes for a Children’s Wardrobe” and “Weekend Wardrobe” were among the most popular, along with a book on making clothes from the famous Liberty fabrics, and she also wrote for fashion magazines. She had requests to put on Shows in department stores and halls, and travelled extensively throughout the country for many years, sharing her knowledge of dressmaking.

Ann became a regular on the popular daytime Southern TV programme Houseparty in the late 70s, taking part in more than 3,000 Houseparty programmes – which were shown three times a week – over 13 years.

In 2009 Ann moved to a cottage in Gargrave, to be closer to her family in Ilkley and discovered her talents were again in big demand, giving talks and demonstrations to many groups throughout the Dales. She joined a local choir and enjoyed performing in concerts, making something new to wear each time.