The island’s traditional music scene lost one of its brightest lights on Monday, August 9.
Wendy Joan Hurst, of Port-e-Vullen, Maughold, passed away peacefully at Hospice Isle of Man after a short illness.
Many will know her for her presence at Gilbert O’Sullivan’s Friday Trad Irish Session at the Miter Hotel, which she has attended for the 21 years since its inception.
In subsequent social media posts, she was said to be remembered for “her laughter, her wicked sense of humor, her frankness and, most importantly, her cuteness.”
As Breesha Maddrell put it, Wendy was, “A great woman in every way – fighting for the environment, for justice, for the family. A huge inspiration for so many young musicians too. ‘
For her husband Bob, no one could sum up Wendy better than this. So forgive me for my attempt:
She has led a truly extraordinary life.
Wendy was born in Preston, England – ‘Only because her mother risked a ferry trip from the Isle of Man during the war to see her father who was in the military at the time. Otherwise, she would have been born in true Mannois.
She was born into a family of hoteliers and loved to ride horses from a young age. At 17, she left the island for the bright lights of London.
Her career path included being an “interim” for big companies like Sony and EMI, delivering cars, taking teacher training (then specializing in wood and metalworking), to own a pub with his late sister Vicky, to retrain as a career officer, to teach English as a foreign language and to work as a student advisor!
Among all this, she still had time to marry a marathon runner, Roger – the late father of her daughters, Nicky and Sarah.
She met her husband Bob in the 80’s and finally moved to the island in 1995, first without him!
In 2005, Wendy’s beloved sister, Vicky, passed away, and as a result, she and Bob became legal guardians of her then teenage nieces, Gemma and Beccy.
In retirement, Wendy focused on the campaign for animal welfare and the environment, which she was doing just weeks before her death.
She was a passionate environmentalist, leading numerous campaigns, and she even saved the colony of Port e Vullen from destruction. She loved donkeys. She was an unstoppable force of nature.
A manx speaker, but still very modest about it, Wendy loved music of many genres and played the B / C accordion (tuned for traditional Irish music) and the Anglo concertina.
His passion for music has influenced many young minds.
“She always encouraged, encouraged, persuaded nervous young musicians to perform in the sessions,” said Bob, “That, she said, would give them the confidence they needed.”
It’s hard to sum up her life on one page, but you can say it must have been an honor to know her.
A private funeral service will be held next week. Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to Manx Wild Bird Aid or Hospice Isle of Man.
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