Vyvyan Cardno, an honorary alderman of Leeds, who has died at the age of 96, was a very different kind of Conservative than her very cut glass accent would suggest. Throughout her long career as a Conservative member of Leeds City Council she was friendly with members of all political parties. Essentially a very practical person she was more interested in achieving improvements in services than in scoring political points.
By profession Vyvyan Cardno was a nurse, and had been a nursing sister in Queen Alexandra's Imperial Nursing Service, volunteering for service with the Number 6 Ambulance Train in France at the beginning of the Second World War, and returning with the British Expeditionary Force on the fall of France in 1940. Later in the war she saw service in Egypt, Palestine, Italy and France again.
She was first elected as Councillor for the Meanwood ward in May 1951, holding her seat until being elected Alderman in 1967. In 1974 she retired from the Council and was appointed as one of the first Honorary Aldermen. When the Conservatives gained control of Leeds City Council in 1967, Alderman Cardno became Chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee and, subsequently, Chairman of the Health Committee in 1971. Ahead of her time, she called for mentally handicapped men and women to be supported within the community rather than being kept in hospital. In April 1971 she was appointed to the Central Health Service Council by the Minister of State, Lord Aberdare. In 1958 she had been appointed a member of the BBC North Regional Advisory Council.
Alderman Cardno's other great interest was music and she was one of the founder governors of the Leeds College of Music on its establishment as a Further Education College in 1965. She and her husband Jimmy were both pianists. Typically, when in later years the college lacked funding for particular events, she became active in the formation of the Friends of the Leeds College of Music and organised a number of fundraising events. It was exceptionally difficult to refuse an invitation from Vyvyan Cardno.
A person of very eclectic tastes, she confessed to being a Leeds United supporter, designing and making her own clothes, enjoying cooking and keeping bees.
Vyvyan Cardno, born 1908, married to James, died 18 August 2005.