Tribute has been paid to former district and town councillor Mary Dwyer-King who sadly passed away on February 14.
Labour councillor Mary, who was member for Central Harbour from 2011-2015 and deputy Ramsgate mayor from 2013-2015, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Speaking at a meeting of Thanet District Council yesterday (February 24) Thanet Labour leader Cllr Rick Everitt paid tribute to a “determined” and “brave” woman.
He said: “Mary was someone that I met in the run-up to the 2011 elections and one thing that struck me about her from the beginning was her determination.
“She might have only been a councillor for one term, but she was unlucky not to make it back three times, losing by 17 votes in Eastcliff in 2015, 44 in Northwood on 2019 and just five in Newington last year.
“She had been selected for that last byelection more than a year before it could take place, and sadly by the time it was held she knew she was terminally ill. But she was determined to carry on as long as she could and that summed up her attitude to the cancer that unfortunately killed her.
“She was brave and she remained cheerful, which is the Mary we knew over the last decade.
“With Cllr Huxley, Mary represented Central Harbour alongside the late Peter Campbell, who memorably put out a ward newsletter in 2011 announcing his two new “assistants”. Being Peter, he got way with that, but neither of them very impressed.
“She was very proud to be deputy mayor of Ramsgate from 2013-2015 as a member of Ramsgate Town Council, and I mean it as a compliment when I say that she was very much one of the people and always comfortable meeting them.
“Although she lived in Cliftonville when she came to Thanet, she soon saw the light and moved to Ramsgate. She was a council tenant and despite longstanding health issues, she had a succession of jobs, including in a taxi office, in a betting shop and in local supermarkets.
“We all bring different experience to the council, but I suspect we don’t have enough councillors who live their life at the sharp end financially, particularly given the levels of deprivation in parts of our community.
“Mary was an authentic voice for those people because she encountered the issues they faced every day. And she overcame them.
“She was a reliable member of the Labour group and she was someone who faced her challenges in life with positivity and good humour, so I know that we in the local Labour party will miss her.”
Fellow councillor Harry Scobie described Mary as “a rough diamond with a heart of gold,” saying her move from Cliftonville was “Cliftonville’s loss but Ramsgate’s gain.”
Cllr Pat Moore added that she was also a talented photographer and “very kind.”
Mary leaves behind her husband Barry, children Liam and Danielle, family and friends. A funeral service will be held at 2pm on March 17 at Ramsgate cemetery.