Remembering former Margate Mayoress and Thanet shop owner Tanis Swan

Tanis Swan

A former Margate mayoress and boss of two Thanet shops has passed away at the age of 79.

Tanis Swan, who was mayoress in 1990 alongside her husband Danny, was manager at Tots & Toys in Garlinge and owner of Swans sweets and tobacco shop on The Broadway, Broadstairs.

Tanis grew up in the medieval village of Seer Green, living with parents Clarence – best known as Claude – and Dorothy, twin brother Tony and adopted siblings Robin and Wendy.

The family visited Margate every year for their summer holiday – always the last week in July and the first week in August. Tanis once wrote about her first visit to Margate which took place in 1947 when she was 3 years old.

She remembered getting the train from Seer Green to London Marylebone station and then walking with her family to London Victoria, as a taxi was too expensive, from where they boarded a steam train to Margate.

While on holiday in Margate, Tanis and her family would stay with Mr Cooke, a local chimney sweep, and his wife in Buckingham Road. Tanis and her family would take a Hackney carriage along Margate seafront.

The family loved Margate and eventually moved to Thanet in 1958. Their first home was in Queens Road, Westgate, where Dorothy set up a bed & breakfast. Claude worked at Dreamland in the gardens and also drove the train through the Magic Gardens.

Tanis left school at the age of 15 and soon began her first job as an assistant at ‘Evans’ the Chemist, Margate High Street. Many jobs followed, however most revolved around retail where she found her niche serving the public and her thirst for artistry especially in window design.

Tanis worked for International Stores and Humpty Dumpty in Westgate on Sea, West Bay Café – owned by her brother Tony Muckley, she was also a silver service waitress at the Winter Gardens Margate and worked at Daisy’s Café in Broadstairs.

She also dabbled as a business owner and successfully ran ’Tots & Toys’ in Garlinge and the sweet and tobacco shop at the Broadway, Broadstairs, ‘Swans’ which is now ‘Naughty but Nice’.

Tanis was mum to two children, Michelle (born September 1965) and Giles (born September 1981) and was married to Danny in 1964. The pair divorced in 1996.

In 1990, Tanis was Mayoress of Margate alongside Danny. Whilst mayoress, she raised money for St Johns Ambulance and she visited Yalta in Russia, which is now twinned with Margate.

She also worked for many years at ‘Birthdays’ in Ramsgate, eventually becoming the manager.

Tanis loved supporting local events and groups throughout her life including Dickens Week in Broadstairs; The Thanet Male Voice Choir; and St Johns Ambulance – becoming President of the Westgate Combined Division.

The mum-of-two was always interested in local politics. Aside from her role as Mayoress of Margate, she contested two Broadstairs Parish Councillor elections – defeated in 2003 but elected in May 2007.

Sadly, at the start of 2020, Tanis’s health declined and she had a stroke. She remained in hospital for several weeks and returned home at the start of the COVID lockdowns. She continued to live independently in her flat for the next year or so – supported by friends and a carer.

In November 2021, Tanis moved into Port Regis Care Home. She built up a small group of friends amongst the residents and was frequently visited by various friends and relatives including her sisters-in-law, her friends and her son and daughter.

Tanis passed away peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of Sunday 2 July. Her funeral will be held on Thursday 3rd August, 11.30am, at Thanet Crematorium.

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