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Hundreds attend service to remember remarkable life of Baroness Hollis

PUBLISHED: 11:20 03 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:20 03 June 2019

The memorial service for Patricia Hollis at St Peter Mancroft church in Norwich. Photo: Norwich City Council / Bill Smith

The memorial service for Patricia Hollis at St Peter Mancroft church in Norwich. Photo: Norwich City Council / Bill Smith

Norwich City Council © 2019

Hundreds of people gathered to remember a "true daughter of the city" at a poignant memorial service for Patricia Hollis, Baroness Hollis of Heigham.

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

Baroness Hollis, who spent years campaigning for the people of Norwich at city and county hall, as well as in the House of Lords, died aged 77 in October last year, following a long illness.

A memorial service remembering the former Norwich City Council leader and Labour peer's remarkable life was held at St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich on Sunday afternoon.

Speakers included her son Simon, city council leader Alan Waters, Baroness Smith, the leader of the opposition in the House of Lords and Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.

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

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis at the memorial service for Patricia Hollis at St Peter Mancroft church in Norwich. Photo: Norwich City Council / Bill SmithNorwich South MP Clive Lewis at the memorial service for Patricia Hollis at St Peter Mancroft church in Norwich. Photo: Norwich City Council / Bill Smith

She was the Labour parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth in 1974, and again in 1979, and 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.

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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.

Known as a social justice campaigner, on issues such as social care for the elderly, benefits for disabled people and eradicating child poverty, the service heard recordings of Baroness Hollis making passionate speeches at Westminster.

Mr Lewis highlighted her work with the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1960s.

Mr Waters, who described Baroness Hollis as a "true daughter" of the city, said the service had been a fitting tribute to a remarkable politician.

He said: "She became a national politician, but with her roots deeply embedded and nurtured in local Norwich politics.

"The issues of equalities, social security, housing, the rights of women, the power of the ballot box were issues that preoccupied and drove her political direction.

"She brought to her politics the experience of her rural working-class roots and a hatred of inequality."

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