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Obituary: Kathleen (Kath) Harper

Obituary Kath HarperWe were both shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of Fylde Councillor Kathleen Harper on Saturday.

She was one of the 2007 intake of councillors and represented residents in St John's Ward, Lytham - a constituency she served with a wonderful humanity and common sense since being first elected.

The picture of her here was taken as she supported members of her community who demonstrated against proposals to close Lytham's Warton Street Post Office in February 2008.

Originally from the Nelson / Barrowford area of East Lancs., she moved to Lytham St Annes after completing nursing training in Manchester and midwifery training in Blackpool, and she enjoyed working at Lytham Hospital until retirement.

We've no doubt that her calling to nursing reflected her deep concern for the welfare of others - a quality unsurpassed as a qualification to be an elected councillor.

We knew her to be a solidly practical, no-nonsense reliable, dependable, lady. She was exactly the sort of person without whom many of the community and voluntary services that operate so well in this country could not continue to exist.

Not for her the limelight and the publicity. Not for her the aspiration of political progression. Her driving force was simply the desire to do good works and benefit the community in which she lived.

And that's exactly what a local councillor should be and do.

Her support for her community is evidenced not least by the number and range of organisations with which she was associated. She was a former Meals on Wheels helper, and a Trustee and Secretary of the Lytham Green Women's Institute. She had been a member of the Ribble Cruising Club and was a Trustee, Committee member and great supporter of the Fylde Otters swimming club for the disabled.

She was an active member of the Friends of Clifton Hospital and the Friends of Lytham Library and one of the organisers of the Lytham St Annes Festival of Performing Arts, as well as being a member of the Lytham St Annes Choral Society. She had also been a member of the Lytham Business Partnership since it began, and she represented Fylde Council on the Executive Committee of the Fylde Arts Association.

Cllr Kath Harper was a lady who rolled up her sleeves and got stuck into the backroom work that is essential for community organisations to function. She was both loved and respected for it.

But probably her strongest attribute was her love and concern for others. It shone through everything she did, colouring her judgement and setting her values. In many ways we regarded her as an ideal councillor, in the same mould as Alderman Ron Wilson and Barbara Pagett. Honourably intentioned, civically and community minded, and possessed of a deeply ingrained sense of humanity, she absolutely brought the needs of her electorate to the fore in all her dealings. She would inject a dose of warm humanity into the sometimes cold decisions the Council was considering.

Politically she was a member of the Fylde Ratepayers Party and served on Fylde Council's Community Focus Scrutiny Committee, the Licensing Committee, the Audit Committee and the Full Council.

This year, Cllr Harper was also chosen to be Deputy Mayoress, representing the Borough at functions and events throughout Fylde.

We knew her well enough to be able to say that people like Kath are the human glue that helps to binds society together - a lady with a true sense of right and wrong, a mother hen protecting her charges, and a matron administering tough love - all in one person. This is indeed a rare combination.

She will be sadly missed - not only by her family and those close to her, but by all those in the community organisations she supported and, indeed, the whole of the community that she knew and served, and all whose lives she touched.

We were all richer for knowing her, and we are all poorer at her loss.

We greatly regret her passing, and offer our sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to her family.

Dated:  11 November 2013


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