Tributes to Peggy McGee, Great Yarmouth mayoress, magistrate and proud mother

Peggy McGee, former Yarmouth magistrate and mayoress, who has died (September 2013)

Peggy McGee, former Yarmouth magistrate and mayoress, who has died (September 2013) - Credit: Archant

A former mayoress and magistrate who lived and loved Great Yarmouth has died, aged 90.

Peggy McGee, wife of Dunkirk veteran and former Labour councillor Harry McGee, was not only a respected Justice of the Peace for 26 years and a stalwart supporter of her husband's long career in local politics, she was a beloved wife and a mother to six boys.

'She was a very busy woman,' recalled the couple's eldest son Ian.

'She worked at Woolworths and spent some time working with her father who had various businesses in the town.

'At home, she was always cooking, cleaning and washing shirts. She must have had 50 shirts a week with all of us.

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'She was a very proud mum, proud that she had raised six boys.'

Mrs McGee, born Margaret Nichols, grew up in Northgate Street, Yarmouth, attending Greenacre Primary and Edward Worlledge Senior School.

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Her father, Abel, ran a tea stall on the beach before war broke out. When bombs began to fall on the east coast, the family moved to Leicester where Mrs McGee started working in Woolworths.

At 18, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and was posted to Scotland where she made friends with a Henry McGee who was serving with the military police on the banks of the River Clyde.

Friendship blossomed into love and the couple became an item. They moved to Yarmouth in 1946 after Mr McGee had been discharged and married at Yarmouth Town Hall in 1947.

The newlyweds lived with Mrs McGee's parents before moving into one of the first council houses on the Magdalen Estate.

She was mayoress in 1964 and again in 1984, actively supporting her husband's role not only as mayor of Great Yarmouth but an alderman of the old Yarmouth county borough council, leader of the council, Labour group leader, Norfolk County councillor, and freeman of the borough.

She balanced motherhood - bringing up her sons Ian, Duncan, Roger, Ray, Stuart and Kevin, with more than quarter of a century as a local magistrate.

In retirement, the McGee's moved to Bunnewell Avenue in Gorleston.

'We met in 1943, married in 1947 and had 70 years together,' said Mr McGee.

'We had a wonderful life; the years have been good to us. We've both worked all our lives and we brought the children up.

'I have lovely memories and you cannot take them away.'

'Like a lot of mums, she was always there when you needed someone,' said Ian, 'even towards the end, I felt she would always going to be there. She loved her kids and, in her professional life, she was a very well respected magistrate.'

Mrs McGee died on September 11 and her funeral was held at Gorleston crematorium on September 23.

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