Maggie Clay passes away

Very sad news about the death of Maggie Clay:

It is with deep regret I feel I must inform you that Councillor Maggie Clay passed away yesterday (Thursday 2nd April).

Maggie was much admired by all of us for her strong principles and her determination to make life better for people in Stockport. She played a leading role in many of our Council campaigns and most recently was at the forefront of our work to help people access benefits and be able to pay their winter fuel bills.

She was a caring champion who looked after our communities in need, and we shall miss her immensely. Maggie was a strong character who always inspired and drove others to achieve their best possible work. Our thoughts and condolences go out to all those who knew her, and held her in high regard.

For funeral details please contact me on [email protected] and I’ll ensure you get the information as soon as it is known.

Best wishes

Dave Goddard (Cllr)
Leader of Stockport Metropolitan Council

Maggie’s influence went well beyond Stockport. She was heavily involved in the Association of Liberal Councillors, and led the way in showing how Liberals could win against Labour in heavily deprived urban areas. She developed and popularised many of the campaigning approaches which are now second nature in the party – and was certainly someone who always remembered that there is a larger purpose to politics than simply winning the next election.

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27 Comments

  • Iain Roberts 3rd Apr '09 - 2:00pm

    Maggie was a friend, colleague and inspiration both for me and many others in the Stockport constituencies.

    I was in a meeting with Maggie on Monday morning when she was, as usual, sharp, funny and hard at work for the people of Stockport.

    Her death has come as a complete shock to us all. Maggie will be greatly missed by a lot of people.

  • Roger Roberts 3rd Apr '09 - 5:09pm

    It was so good to meet Maggie once again at the Harrogate Conference. Not having seen her for many years it was great to chat.

    We (old timers !) met over the years at Liberal Assemblies and, more often than not, were in complete agreement.

    Two Assemblies stand out – the Blackpool Assembly with the alliance proposals leading to the new party – ALC played a significant part in the final decisions. The other was Eastbourne with the confusion following the defeat of the European Nuclear proposals – headless chickens were never in more disarray ! Maggie was a star on these and many other occasions.

  • Viv Long-Ferguson 3rd Apr '09 - 5:14pm

    Maggie Clay will be much missed within her local community. I got to know Maggie well during the formation of the FOGM Park group. She was an invaluable and positive voice of reason and action.

  • Very sad news. She did a tremendous job and was an inspiration to many of us who made urban breakthroughs in the early/mid 1980s.

  • Lin Macmillan 3rd Apr '09 - 8:23pm

    I am very sad indeed today. I first met Maggie in 1974 when I joined the Liberals in Leeds and she was a great support to me then. I last saw her when I bumped into her in the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall in 2001, but we kept in touch by Christmas card and the occasional letter.
    I have lost a good friend.

  • Cllr Janet Battye 3rd Apr '09 - 9:59pm

    I have only just started to get to know Maggie and feel that her untimely death has robbed me of a really good friend. She did some work with my Council group and I had started to spend time with her at the various conferences that we attend. Particularly notable was last year’s LGA conference in Bournemouth when I found myself with her and pther people from the Greater Manchester area on the same table at the LibDem dinner, talking and listening to Ros Scott’s speech which was hilarious.
    Maggie’s example to us all of Libdem values and principles in action, a life well-lived, must inspire us to keep going and to do more.

  • David Vasmer 3rd Apr '09 - 11:53pm

    I can’t believe the news that Maggie is dead. She was so full of life, such an inspiration, a loyal friend and totally dedicated to making community politics take root.
    David Vasmer

  • Gareth Epps 4th Apr '09 - 1:59am

    I never met Maggie but read a number of the texts she wrote and have met innumerable people who she developed – all of which have helped us grow in Reading in the way we have. Very sad news indeed.

  • Peter Chegwyn 4th Apr '09 - 10:36am

    What terribly sad news. She was one of the most genuine, caring and inspirational people I have ever met. She was also great fun. I shared a climbing holiday with her and Cllr. Adrian Collett in the Scottish Highlands in 1986. Adrian and I couldn’t believe her determination to climb every peak possible… but she told us she couldn’t possibly return to Hebden Bridge unless she’d scaled more mountains than Tony Greaves had managed! We’ll miss her. A very great loss.

  • David Morton 4th Apr '09 - 1:59pm

    I met her several times albeit on a causual basis. The charisma was raw and powerful. I almost couldn’t believe how much she remembered about previous conversations. She was obviously a people person. I was also struck by her real passion ofr personal development and her interest in me even though she had no reason to be or to flatter me.

    But more than she was a “proper liberal” as i sometimes perjoratively call people. She certainly knew there was more to politics than just winning the next election. Which some people seem to forget.

    Rest In Peace.

  • Ian Johnson 4th Apr '09 - 10:00pm

    I knew of Maggie Clay in Leeds, working herself to the bone in a huge and difficult ward, before I was even interested in politics.
    She was a tireless activist and the words of David Morton (above) about there being more to being a councillor than winning elections is so very true, and she proved it. She got elected to do things for the community, not to sit back for four years, and those of us who follow can only be inspired by her efforts.

  • Cllr Mark Weldon 5th Apr '09 - 3:56pm

    Maggie was an inspiring ward colleague. Her passion and commitment to serving the community was self evident to anyone who had ever met her. In the seven years since we became colleagues she became a dear true friend.
    I and the community of Stepping Hill and all of Stockport will miss terribly her warmth, her dedication and her sense of fun.
    Maggie was an inspiration and the greatest tribute we could pay is to continue her work in our communities. Thank you Maggie for all you taught me, but more importantly for showing me how to put principles into action.

  • janice gwilliam (ex Lennon) 5th Apr '09 - 6:26pm

    Maggie started out as my mentor and a colleague and became a friend; as well as the politics I remember sharing wonderful cheeses and wine with her. She came to our party last summer and gave us a cheese storer, what a good memory to have every time we eat a piece of good cheese.

  • Cllr. Ben Alexander 6th Apr '09 - 1:02am

    Over the past 72 hours I have spoken to many Stepping Hill ward residents and I shall try to give a flavour of their comments.

    Maggie worked tiredlessly on behalf of residents invariably going out of her way to visit them at home to hear their problems first hand, spend time with them, listen carefully and then act incisively. People loved her for the warmth, compassion, humour and the high spirits she carried around with her, and she was very much respected by the community as a whole for her determination in our various campaigns to make our ward a better place to live in. Mark and I have been really privileged to have had Maggie as our Ward colleague yet she was always quick to point out our real strength was the way we worked together as a team. Maggie had incredible energy, a quick mind, the drive to make things happen; and they did. That Maggie will be missed, goes without saying, but I know that Mark and I have learnt a lot through her example so making us more effective Councillors; and as such we shall continue to carry her torch. An unsung hero, Maggie leaves a great legacy.

  • Paul Langley 6th Apr '09 - 10:39am

    I remember sitting with Maggie in her small terraced house in Leeds, exhausted at near midnight, after weeks of campaigning, and then having the priveledge of accompanying her at the count when she first became a Leeds City Councillor. Whilst my involvement in local politics didn’t continue, it was the influence of working with her in those days that turned me away from choosing a career doing things ‘to’ people towards doing things ‘with’ people. Thank you Maggie and Rest in Peace

  • Mark Hunter MP 6th Apr '09 - 1:12pm

    I was stunned to hear the news of the death of Cllr Maggie Clay. Maggie was a close personal friend and colleague, whom I could always rely on for sound and honest advice. Her death is a tremendous loss I will miss her greatly. Maggie was great fun to work with and a smile was never far away from her features. She was an incredibly energetic, driven and positive person who believed passionately both in her liberal values and the importance of working for the local community – as a politician she was certainly an inspiration for me.

    Maggie was also a distinguished public servant – a hard working and committed local councillor who always put the needs of those she represented before her own. She campaigned tirelessly for the local community – constantly championing causes which would help the people of Stepping Hill and Stockport. She was a key member of our local campaign team and I know she will be missed by many, not least the people of Stepping Hill who she always felt honoured to represent.

    At this difficult time my thoughts and condolences go out to her family and friends as they struggle with their loss. For myself, I’ve not only lost a brilliant politician and stalwart of my team, but more importantly, a great friend.

  • Cllr John Lamb 6th Apr '09 - 4:54pm

    Still felling a bit shocked at having just heard the news about Maggies sudden death. I first met Maggie several years ago at an AGMA Member capacity building event and was struck then by her warmth and real interest in others. I worked very recently with Maggie to help set up the re-vitalised North West network of Leads for Adult Social Care and she was our first chair. Such was her commitment to doing the best for people in need of essential council services. She will be greatly missed in Stockport and the North West.

    Cllr John Lamb Exec Member ASC (Trafford Council) 2006 -2008

  • Chris Willmore 7th Apr '09 - 3:57pm

    Maggie, those amazing, heady days in the 1980s when we had the energy and youth to believe we could change the world. You inspired so many of us, and gave us the tools to try to change at least a little corner of the world. It feels like a family reuniting as I read the comments coming in on this page. How awful it has to be this to bring us back together.
    Maggie was everything people on this paper have said, and more. In her ALC work, she was not one for headlines or limelight, she was the person behind the throne it made it happen, who always had the sense to dig us out of holes. I still remember drinking wine in her Leeds home and trying to work out how to change the world (well at least the Liberal Party for starters) – so many people with inspirational careers in the party started learning their skills from her. Thanks Maggie, for your honesty, for your caring, for your campaigning, and for … well for being you.

  • Wendy Talley 10th Apr '09 - 2:14am

    I was another who worked with Maggie when I was a member of the ALC committee in the 1980s. I was always impressed by her ability to get to the heart of any thorny issue we were discussing and keep us from straying from the point.

    Having not seen her since I visited the shop she ran in Shropshire after leaving ALC, I was delighted to meet up with her at conference last year. Together with Helen Ellis (formerly Drummond) we spent a hilarious evening over an enormous Chinese meal and a large quantity of wine. We looked forward to more such get togethers in the future. I am just so sad that it’s not to be.

  • Very sorry to hear the sad news. Maggie was a great source of help, warmth and encouragement to those of us who fought, won and held council seats in unpromising places in the 1980s.

  • Met Maggie Clay back in the 80s and 90s through ALC. I was glad to see her back in active politics after a break, and desperately sorry to hear of her death. She was a tremendous inspiration and support to a whole generation of Liberals. Still have the “How we won in Burmantofts” book somewhere.

    Alex Graham
    Lib Dem Focus Team Councillor
    Inverness West.

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