A FARMING community is in shock after the death of a ‘treasured wife and mother’ in a road crash.
Janet Gorst was driving a quad bike on Old Scotch Road, near Killington, on Thursday, when her machine was in collision with a Land Rover.
The two vehicles were travelling in opposite directions on the narrow and quiet country lane, not far from the mother-of-three’s home at Mutton Hall, Old Hutton.
Police were called at 9.15am and the 43-year-old was taken to Royal Lancaster Infirmary, where she was pronounced dead.
A spokesman confirmed that Mrs Gorst had not been wearing a helmet when the collision occurred. The woman driver of the Land Rover, also aged 43, was not injured.
He said the full circumstances of the collision were still being investigated and appealed for anyone who saw the two vehicles around the time of the collision to come forward.
Police released a statement from her family which said Mrs Gorst was ‘the treasured wife of Dick, and the mother of three wonderful children – Lydia, Joe and Sam’.
It said she ‘also sadly leaves behind an extended family where she had the role of being a beloved daughter, sister, niece, auntie and a much loved friend’.
In the statement, Mrs Gorst’s family described her as ‘a farmer and proud stockman’. “Janet was a Christian whose motto in life was live life passionately, laugh until your belly hurts, and love unconditionally,” it said.
Mrs Gorst’s death has devastated the farming community, in which the Gorsts are a prominent and well-respected family.
Matt Robinson, a dairy farmer at Old Hutton, said: “The whole farming community is in shock. It is a real tragedy.
“I’m sure everybody’s thoughts will be with the Gorsts, who are a great farming family and well respected throughout the area.”
Her father-in-law Tom Gorst was last year’s president of the Westmorland Agricultural Society.
The society’s chief executive Christine Knipe said the death was ‘a tragedy that is being felt throughout the society and our sympathies go out to the family’.
“The Gorst family have been strong supporters of the society for many years and it was fantastic to see Tom with his family at all the shows last year,” she said.
“They are a close-knit family and Janet was a very down-to-earth lady, excellent with livestock and someone who was passionate about farming and about her family.” Selside farmer Jane Knowles knew Mrs Gorst through auction markets and often photographed her due to her success in cattle shows.
“She always used to do very well in the shows and she was a lovely, lovely lass,” said Mrs Knowles.
“She was always friendly, always had a smile on her face and was always full of the joys.
“She’ll be a sad loss to a lot of people and very much missed at the auctions.”
Mrs Gorst grew up in Cold Cotes near Clapham. She was a member of Old Hutton Ladies’ Badminton Club and a regular attendee at Sedbergh Methodist Church, where a spokesperson said: “Janet had an immense sense of fun and her laughter was contagious. She was a true friend to all and is greatly missed by her church family.”
The head teacher of the Kirkby Lonsdale school attended by Mrs Gorst’s children said she was ‘widely known and well-liked’.
Chris Clarke, of Queen Elizabeth School (QES), said: “A number of staff and students at QES were very shocked and saddened by the news of her tragic death.
“Our priority has been to offer the family support and to care for her three children who are a part of our school community.”
Cumbria Police are appealing for anyone who may have been in the area at that time and saw either of the vehicles involved to get in contact with them on 101.
The inquest into Mrs Gorst’s death was opened and adjourned at Barrow Town Hall on Tuesday.