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Lady Shirley Hooson: An obituary

Credit: Powys County Times

Montgomeryshire and the Welsh Liberal tradition will not see her like again

‘The end of an era’ is without doubt an over-used phrase when assessing much loved and respected figures who have died, but when Jane Dodds and I took our places in the China Street Welsh Presbyterian Chapel last Saturday, 5th May to celebrate the life of Shirley Hoosen (nee Hamer), that is precisely what we were witnessing.

Lady Shirley Hooson was the widow of the late Liberal MP for Montgomeryshire, Lord Emlyn Hooson, who served the county for 17 years between 1962 and 1979.

She dedicated most of her adult life to the service of her native Llanidloes, serving as a member of the Llanidloes Town Council for more than four decades, from 1974 to 2017, including a term as mayor. She stood down from the council just a few weeks after her 90th birthday, becoming an Honorary Alderman of the town, in recognition of her long and loyal service in June 2017.

Lady Shirley was also a longstanding member of Montgomeryshire District Council for Llanidloes from its inception in 1973 until its absorption into the Powys Unitary Authority in 1996, serving as Vice Chair of the Council. The demise of Montgomeryshire District Council was a matter of bitter regret to her, only surpassed by the threat of abolishing the historic parliamentary seat of Montgomeryshire, currently being promoted by the Boundary Commission.

Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire since 2010, was amongst those to pay tribute to Lady Hooson:

Lady Hooson and her great late husband, Emlyn, were wonderful people who gave much of their lives to Llanidloes and Montgomeryshire…She was a key support to him throughout his hugely successful political career. Over the last three years, after she had lost the ability to speak, I valued meeting her more than ever. We simply did not need words to communicate. Llanidloes and Montgomeryshire has lost one of its greatest ever champions.

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