Legacy of a legend

Julia Massey, Mary Smith's daughter, at the bench yesterday and (below) Mary when she was a councillor.
Julia Massey, Mary Smith's daughter, at the bench yesterday and (below) Mary when she was a councillor.
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A MOVING tribute to a pioneering councillor has become a permanent addition in a Blackpool park.

The first anniversary of Coun Mary Smith’s death was remembered with a new bench in Stanley Park opposite a line of trees for veterans she was inspirational in securing.

Coun Mary Smith

Coun Mary Smith

Family and friends of the former Blackpool mayor turned out in their droves to see the unveiling of the bench, which was organised and put in place by Coun Graham Cain, the current cabinet member for tourism and culture,.

He said: “Today has been many, many months in the planning and a direct result of me wanting to leave something in the memory of Mary and respect the legacy she left in Blackpool.

“Where else could we have located a bench to a special lady who represented a special town?

“This location was specifically selected because there’s a row of 20 ash trees in front of it which were planted in during Mary’s mayoral year from 2008 to 2009.

“Mary was so proud of these trees and the association she had with the veterans and that’s why we decided on this spot, which gives people the chance to sit on this bench and look out to the trees.”

The memorial bench is at the Woodland Grove entrance to the park, on West Park Drive.

Coun Julia Massey, Mrs Smith’s daughter and mayoress of Blackpool added: “I can’t really put into words what this means.

“It’s just a fantastic day and a way the people of Blackpool won’t forget her because they are doing everything they can to keep her memory alive.

“For so many people to turn up on a cold day and show their respects is fantastic and I can take comfort from it.

“She would be pleased with where the bench is because everytime she passed she asked how her trees were doing.

“This is a fitting place and in the summer when it’s nice people can come here and think about her.”

Coun Sylvia Taylor, mayor of Blackpool, added: “I’m privileged to be here with so many of Mary’s relatives and friends from all walks of life that she was involved with.

“She was a governor at Park School for many years and it was wonderful to see so many representatives here.

“This has brought back a lot of memories about Mary and I’m sure she would’ve appreciated just how many people have turned up to see this.

“It’s a fitting tribute and I know the family are very grateful.”

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