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Respects paid to former Yarmouth mayor and Dunkirk veteran

PUBLISHED: 15:32 20 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:38 21 November 2018

Former Great Yarmouth mayor Harry McGee, who has died aged 99. Picture: Nick Butcher

Former Great Yarmouth mayor Harry McGee, who has died aged 99. Picture: Nick Butcher

Respects have been paid to a Dunkirk veteran who served the borough of Great Yarmouth as a councillor for some 50 years.

Archive picture of Harry McGee being made mayor in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Archant libraryArchive picture of Harry McGee being made mayor in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Archant library

Harry McGee, who was twice mayor of the borough, died recently at the age of 99.

Tributes were paid to the former Labour councillor Mr McGee at Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s economic development committee on Monday, with members observing a minute’s silence ahead of the meeting.

The town flag outside Town Hall was also flying at half-mast.

Barry Coleman, chairman of the city and a former mayor himself, said: “There are not many left on our side (the Conservative group) who would have worked with him, however those who did know about his character.

Former Great Yarmouth mayor Harry McGee, pictured in 2004. Picture: Adam ScoreyFormer Great Yarmouth mayor Harry McGee, pictured in 2004. Picture: Adam Scorey

“He was a leading light and led the council for many years, while also serving as mayor twice.”

Mr McGee served as a councillor in the borough for a record 50 years, from 1954 until his retirement in 2004.

Michael Jeal, who has been a Labour councillor for more than 30 years himself, described Mr McGee as “an upstanding councillor”.

He said: “Lots of people in his ward thought greatly of him and he was very well respected in the Labour Party.
“I was always proud to sit on committees with him and he was a real source of knowledge,”

Mr McGee twice held the role of mayor in the town, two decades apart in 1964 and again in 1984 - and was a freeman of the borough.

With his wife Peggy, a magistrate who he wed at Yarmouth Town Hall in 1947, he fathered six sons, Ian, Duncan, Roger, Roy, Stuart and Kevin.

Mrs McGee died in 2013, at the age of 90, having spent 26 years as a Justice of the Peace.

Mr McGee was originally from Liverpool and served in the 59th Liverpool Regiment of the Royal Artillery.

In May 1940, he was one of the thousands of servicemen rescued from the shores of Dunkirk during the Second World War.

In January, 2013, he championed a campaign to bring one of the Louise Stephens - one of the little ships used to stage the daring rescue - back to its home port of Gorleston.

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