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Obituary: Margaret Procopides

Obituary: Margaret ProcopidesWe're sad to record the death of Alderman and former Fylde Borough Councillor Margaret Procopides, who died on 22 July.

'Miss Proc' - as she was know to most that were close to her - was a slightly prim, but certainly very 'proper' lady with a heart of gold and way more common sense than most.

She had a great interest in people and very little interest in party politics, which equipped her well for her role as a councillor and a stalwart of many community organisations in Fylde.

This was a very human being - a Councillor who would always remember and ask about the wellbeing of your family before asking about progress on whatever council business concerned her. And that wasn't a ploy, it was genuine concern.

She was a 'proper' lady in the sense that she liked, she gave, and she expected civility and politeness in her dealings. Her world was softened and cushioned by politeness.

That's not to say she was soft. On the contrary, she had that will of steel and self discipline often found in people of  he generation - and which is less common today.

She was Fylde's Mayor in the millennium year, and was, as would have been expected, nothing more than a credit to the Borough.

She had joined the Council in 1979 having been elected for Central Ward and stood as a Ratepayer - alongside the likes of the irrepressible Frank and Jos Hoyle, and Ron and Hilda WIlson.

We understand her background was in education, but when we first met her, she was retired from work and was able to give the council and her many charities and community groups her full support.

She was instrumental in forging the alliance between the Ratepayer Group and the Independents which, together with the support of the Liberal Democrats, saw them take control of the Council's majority when the Conservatives failed to win an outright majority in May 1999,

The Conservatives secured only 21 seats, and the combined seats of the Independents (12). Ratepayers (11) and Liberal Democrats (3) gave them overall control when their votes were combined.

At first the Conservatives were allowed to take power as the largest single party, but a perceived failure to be sufficiently accommodating (which was probably justified), led to the their removal from power and a balanced or hung council (depending on your perspective), ruled the roost until  the next election in 2003, which ushered in John Coombes and the Conservatives again.

Cllr Miss Proc (as she was at the time) was deeply involved in the negotiations to forge and retain that alliance, and she served for a time as Deputy Leader of the Council, with Paul Hayhurst as its Leader.

We believe she stood down as a Councillor in the 2003 election and opted for a quieter life as an octogenarian.

Not that stopped her interest in civic life.

We recall speaking with her after she had bought a ticket to attend the Fylde Civic Awareness Group's Seminar on 'Governance and Localism' in February 2013 which kick-started the campaign to return Fylde to the Committee system.

Sadly she wasn't able to attend because of being hospitalised, but in her 90s, we found her to be bright as a button and keen to keep up with what was going on in civic life.

She belonged to a generation who represented much of what was best in Britain. She understood the concept of service to others, embraced them with warmth, but was not unable to dole out 'tough love' when it was needed.

'Stalwart of the community' is an apt, and appropriate description of her civic life.

We are sad at her loss: a sadness compounded by the fact that we did not hear about her funeral details until the 'Express' after the event. Had we know we would have attended in person to pay our respects, and we offer condolences to her relatives.

Dated:    2 Aug 2014


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