Tributes as Blackpool says farewell to people’s champion

Funeral of Councillor Doreen Holt at All Saints Church, Palatine Road, Blackpool.
Funeral of Councillor Doreen Holt at All Saints Church, Palatine Road, Blackpool.
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FAMILY and friends joined with community leaders to pay their last respects to Coun Doreen Holt who lost her battle with cancer earlier this month.

Mourners gathered at Christ Church with All Saints Church on Palatine Road, Blackpool, to hear tributes paid to a councillor described as much loved by both her family and the people she served.

Blackpool South election count-Blackpool Sports Centre. Doreen Holt.

Blackpool South election count-Blackpool Sports Centre. Doreen Holt.

Fellow councillors from the main political parties along with Blackpool Council chief executive Steve Weaver and Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden were among the congregation to bid farewell to the popular Bloomfield ward representative who died on January 15, aged 72.

In a moving eulogy, her daughter Susan recalled how her mum had time for everyone from her friends at Ibbison Court to those she spoke up for at the town hall.

Yet her family also had a huge place in her life and she was proud of all their achievements.

Susan said: “Being your daughter was a blessing, it was the most proud moment.

“You were my best friend, my inspiration and the most selfless person I have ever known.

“You were beautiful with a golden smile and a heart full of magic.”

Earlier she told mourners how the loss of her brother Stephen had been a heartbreaking time for the family.

She said; “My brother Stephen was my mum’s first born and her only son. She loved him dearly but as we all know in 2009 Stephen was cruelly taken from us.”

Reverend Michael Ward, who led the service, said Coun Holt had aptly been described as a “person for the people.”

He said she had never compromised on her beliefs and had served her ward with “devotion, dedication and passion.”

He told the congregation: “Not only was Doreen a mother to her own family and a wonderful wife to Rod, she was also a mother to Revoe, indeed ‘married’ to the community she represented.

“She will be so sadly missed, yet she leaves a legacy of caring for so many people. She was someone who championed the lost cause, a pillar of the community, someone determined to improve the lives of others.”

Coun Holt, of Erdington Road, leaves her husband Rod, daughters Barbara, Diane and Susan, and stepdaughter Tracy, as well as 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Her son Stephen Moody died in 2009 after he was attacked outside a pub.

She was first elected to the council in 1983, representing the old Foxhall ward for the Conservatives. Later she joined the Liberal Democrats, representing Bloomfield from 2000 until 2003, and from 2007. She also fought the Blackpool South Parliamentary seat for the Lib Dems and she had been due to be elected as Blackpool Mayor in 2012.

Yesterday’s service was followed by a committal at Lytham Park Cemetery.