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Hundred of peers and MPs attend Westminster thanksgiving service for Norwich's campaigning Baroness Hollis

PUBLISHED: 14:04 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:27 19 June 2019

Baroness Hollis. 
Photo: Simon Finlay

Baroness Hollis. Photo: Simon Finlay

Archant © 2007

The life of campaigning Norwich politician Baroness Hollis was remembered in a thanksgiving service at Westminster, attended by about 400 peers and MPs.

Baroness Hollis. Pic: Simon Finlay.Baroness Hollis. Pic: Simon Finlay.

Former Norwich City Council leader Patricia Hollis, Baroness Hollis of Heigham, died aged 77 in October last year.

A memorial service was held at St Peter Mancroft in Norwich earlier this month, but today saw a London thanksgiving service in Westminster Abbey's St Margaret's Church.

The 12th century church is often called the parish church of the Palace of Westminster, because MPs and peers worship there.

The peers and MPs were led into the service by House of Lords speaker Lord Fowler and black rod Sarah Clarke.

Baroness Hollis in the council chamber at City Hall after she was presented with the Freedom of the City award. 
Photo: Denise Bradley
.Baroness Hollis in the council chamber at City Hall after she was presented with the Freedom of the City award. Photo: Denise Bradley .

Former Labour party colleagues of Baroness Hollis were among those who reflected on her life, including Kate Green MP, Baroness Drake of Sheen and Baroness Smith of Basildon.

Baroness Smith said: "In the House of Lords, she used words as weapons and facts as ammunition. She made politics real and human."

The Reverend Jane Sinclair, canon of Westminster and rector of St Margaret's Church said hallmarks of Baroness Hollis's life in public service were "a profound sense of justice tempered with heartfelt compassion, and a well-honed ability to make a real difference where it mattered".

She said: "Few, if any, could so adeptly have forced a change in government policy on tax credits from the opposition back benches in the Lords, with the sharp reminder that this is an 'issue about trust between Parliament and the people we serve'."

She said Baroness Hollis was "energetic, fun to be with, and full of life, with myriad interests from music to history to her beloved county of Norfolk".

Baroness Hollis served at City Hall from 1968 to 1991, and led the council from 1983 to 1988.

She was a Norfolk county councillor from 1978 to 1982.

In 1990 she was made a life peer as Baroness Hollis of Heigham, and was an opposition whip in the House of Lords from 1990 to 1995.

She was parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Department for Work and Pensions from May 2001 to 2005 and also served as a deputy lieutenant of Norfolk.

She was a lecturer in modern history, reader and dean at the University of East Anglia from 1967 to 1990.

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