Lasting tribute to a loyal councillor

Julia Massey unveils the first plaque to her  mother, watched by ward  councillors John Jones and Graham Cain, Mayor of Blackpool Sylvia Taylor, and MP for Blackpool South Gordon Marsden. Coun Mary Smith (below).

Julia Massey unveils the first plaque to her mother, watched by ward councillors John Jones and Graham Cain, Mayor of Blackpool Sylvia Taylor, and MP for Blackpool South Gordon Marsden. Coun Mary Smith (below).

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A COUNCILLOR who never stopped caring for her community has been honoured with two plaques in her memory.

Residents of Bloomfield ward wanted to commemorate the work of Coun Mary Smith, who died in February after a long illness.

Coun Mary Smith

Coun Mary Smith

Councillors, friends and family gathered on Friday as the plaques were unveiled at Ibbison Court, Central Drive.

The first plaque is above the door of number one Ibbison Court which has been renamed Mary Smith House, while the second is in the garden of the sheltered housing centre which has also been dedicated to Coun Smith.

Blackpool Mayor Coun Sylvia Taylor, who unveiled the tributes, said: “Mary was very proud of being Blackpool born and she was a tremendous friend to the people in her ward. We know she is still looking down on us and she has left a tremendous legacy.”

Coun Taylor was joined by her Mayoress Julia Massey, who is Coun Smith’s daughter.

Mrs Massey, who was also Mayoress when her mother was Mayor in 2008/09. said: “Mum came here to Ibbison Court a lot and the people here were very important to her so it is lovely she is being remembered in this way.

“She loved her ward and even when she was very poorly she tried to do what she could. All the family is very proud of her and we would like to thank all the council officers, councillors and everyone else who has supported us since her death.”

The plaque reads ‘Mary was born, brought up and educated in the Revoe area and her passion and commitment to the people of the area will never be surpassed. May God grant her eternal peace.’

Barbara Cousins, a client of the Ibbison Court community centre, said: “When our other councillor, Doreen Holt, died we had the park dedicated to her, and when Mary died we wanted something for her too.

“We came up with the idea of the plaques. Coun Smith did an awful lot for us.

“Just a week before she died I rang her about an issue, and she gave me a phone number. That’s how willing she was.

“We miss both Mary and Doreen – they were a good team together.”

Bloomfield ward councillor Graham Cain said: “Mary was admired by so many people in Blackpool and these memorials will make sure she can look over us forever.”

Coun Smith, who was 77, had served the town as a Labour councillor for 21 years and served on council committees including licensing and planning.

As well as her daughter Julia, her sister Barbara, son Peter and grandson Sean were at the unveiling.

Last year residents and civic dignitaries gathered as the park at Bethesda Square, off Central Drive, was renamed in memory of former Liberal Democrat Coun Holt, who died in January 2011, aged, 72.

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