'Queen of our Hearts' - family's tribute to Chesterfield singing legend Vondra Redfern
Tributes have been paid to a Chesterfield singer who has been described as "Queen of our hearts" by her family and a "legend" by her friends.
Vondra Redfern, who lived in Newbold and was well known for singing in pubs and clubs, passed away in Ashgate Hospice, aged 74.
Her daughter Mandy Smith said: “She had so many friends and the outpouring of love on social media has been incredible.
“She always told everyone she met to be the best they could be, giving tips on confidence and to never give up on your dream."
Vondra's passion for singing was shared by her eldest grandchild Chelsea who competed in Britain's Got Talent in 2012, winning four yes votes from the judges at audition much to the delight of her grandma who bantered with Simon Cowell.
Mandy said: "Mum encouraged Chelsea to pursue her passion for singing and performing. She would dress Chelsea in various outfits and off they would go singing together and they did that for 27 years. They were a dynamic duo."
Vondra played a huge part in her grandchildren’s lives. “She was so proud of her grandson Bradley especially when it came to football,” said Mandy. “She was forever telling everyone about the time he played for Sheffield Academy where he scored five goals on his first time there. She saved all the paper cuttings and framed them. Bradley gave Vondra her first great-grandchild Rosie who she loved wholeheartedly.
“Noah was the youngest grandchild of Vondra. She always said he was the smartest boy she knew and he was so proud of how clever he was, he certainly taught her a few things when it came to technology."
Mandy, the only child of Vondra and husband Geoff, was her parents' pride and joy. Growing up, Mandy would enter singing competitions with her mum and pool competitions with her dad. When Mandy passed her driving test, she and Vondra would head further afield but Vondra's poor sense of direction meant they would often be hours away from where they should be!
Beauty queen Vondra scooped the title of Miss Whittington Moor at the Railway Hotel when she was 24. She held onto the crown for 17 years before persuading brewery bosses to reinstate the competition, this time at the Hare and Hounds in Stonegravels.
Over the years Vondra worked in various jobs including bus conductress and hairdressing with her mum.
Vondra, whose surviving relatives include her sister Norma, enjoyed karaoke at the Vic Club on Whittington Moor and the St Helen's pub in Stonegravels.
She put her singing talents to good use to raise money for Ashgate Hospice. Mandy, who has requested donations to the hospice in lieu of flowers and cards, said: "My late father died of cancer but never went to Ashgate, and the fact that they looked after my mum so well for the last few weeks makes it a very worthy cause, they are incredible and we couldn’t have got through it without them."
On social media, Morag Blackburn posted about Vondra: "Angels will have the most beautiful voice amongst them." Dave Carty wrote: "She really was a legend of Chesterfield."
The funeral service will take place on April 15. To donate to Ashgate Hospice in memory of Vondra, go to https://uk.gofundme.com/f/xs9f9.