Labour stalwart and ex mayor of Great Yarmouth Cora Batley dies

Cora Batley, 80, is retiring from the Great Yarmouth Borough Council after 47 years service.Cora wit

Cora Batley, 80, is retiring from the Great Yarmouth Borough Council after 47 years service.Cora with a portrait of herself from 1957.Pictures: Adam ScoreyCopy:Stephen PullingerFor: EDP/Weekly© EDP pics 2004 Tel: (01603) 772434 - Credit: ©EDP pics 2004 (01603) 772434

A Labour party stalwart and long time borough councillor has died at the age of 92.

Cora Batley held many leading roles during her 47 years as a councillor in Great Yarmouth, including serving as mayor in 1972.

Throughout her time in Yarmouth, Mrs Batley's tireless work put her in close contact with public bodies, voluntary sector organisations and she was long recognised as a champion for the south Yarmouth community.

Her daughter Mary Durrant, said: 'I have great memories from my childhood with her. She was always a busy lady with the many things she would involve herself in.

'She had a particular interest in politics and was devoted to the Labour party. She had a big interest in schools and was chairman and a member of several local boards.

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'I will, however, remember her as a lovely and kind person who I have many fond memories of the holidays and the times we spent together and she will be much missed in the local community.'

The borough council chamber at Yarmouth Town Hall was packed in 1997, when she became the first woman to be granted freedom of the borough in recognition of her 40 years of public service in the town.

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During her public service from 1957, she served as a ward councillor, held the title of mayor, chaired several council committees.

Speaking in 1997 after receiving the Freedom of the Borough, she said: 'When I came to Yarmouth I never expected to become a councillor. But the Labour party was short of candidates so I stood.

'Politics just became part of my life. I never thought I would be involved this long.'

She was born in Caergwrle, North Wales in 1923 and moved to Yarmouth in 1946 with her husband Douglas, who died several years ago.

First elected a councillor in 1957 for the St Nicholas' ward, she later moved to serve the South (now known as the Nelson) ward in 1961.

She also served as a Norfolk County Councillor from 1973 to 1984 and was chairman of the Great Yarmouth Borough Council in 1994 and 1995, during a time when the role of mayor had been removed by the ruling Labour group.

She also served on all major borough council committees and was a member of various boards including Great Yarmouth Port Authority, Great Yarmouth Transport Limited, the governors for Lynn Grove School, Greenacre First and Middle Schools and was a former president of Ladies' Probus.

Most recently a room was named after her in 2010 at the St James Health and Resource Centre in Queen's Road, Great Yarmouth. It came after her prolific campaigning for local service efforts in helping to get a health and resource centre started.

She also held several job roles in her time in the region, including as a landlady at the former Rifle Volunteer Pub on Blackfriars Road, and 24 years working at Birdseye.

Mrs Batley, of Malakoff Close, Yarmouth died on April 21.

She leaves two children, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

The funeral service is due to be held on Wednesday, May 11 at 2pm at Christchurch, King Street, Great Yarmouth.

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