Doreen Dart... in her own words
Tributes have poured in for the dedicated charity fundraiser and Swindon Town fan since she died in her sleep at Great Western Hospital at the age of 84.
Her daughter, Jan, found the following piece called A part of my life on Doreen’s computer on Wednesday. It was written by the Conservative councillor in August – just one month after she found out she had lung cancer.
Gloria (my mother had grand ideas) Doreen Dart born years ago in Grantham – Maggie Thatcher’s town.
My family moved to Kingston where I began my working life very young at 14. Then working at a fashion house trying to save my pennies for college. I worked my way up until I became clerk to the governors and eventually a teacher of a school in London.
I knew then that I loved working and being with people.
When I married Norman we lived in London Borough, then Norman’s work brought us to this part of the country. Shortly after we moved here he was to be transferred to Scotland.
We found our home, by then Norman was mostly away and I filled my days with teaching at a local school, which I have such fond memories of.
Norman gave me a kick, he was my brick and I was lucky to apply and to be elected for parish council in our rather lovely tiny village.
After eight years I decided to retire, but the following weekend I was approached by the late Harry Sutton and asked if I would like to stand for election as borough councillor of the Blunsdon ward.
It was rather strange as I have always used my vote but never really been a political person. I like to think I am a people’s person not a political person.
I was elected, the story unfolds and those years were some of the most enjoyable and most frustrating that I have ever had. Oh how I wish I had had the opportunity when I was much younger.
Later in my life I was selected to be put forward with Norman for mayor of Swindon. I was elected mayor for 1993-1994 and gave up my job as a teacher, as this was going to be a full-time job. There are many unforseen expenses for a mayor, but also the very normal ones. For a man, not quite so tricky, but for a lady – well, what a wonderful opportunity for new clothes!
Buckingham Palace was super but I particularly enjoyed visits which involved children and remember a dear little mite with terrible walking difficulties presenting me with a posy.
Dozens of things to do, Princess Margaret Hospital at Christmas seeing newborn babies. Over 700 engagements in one year, it was truly quite wonderful. A constant delight and a very privileged honour for us both.
I was offered a seat during my mayoral year at Wembley and guess what – I was hooked. My first and only sight of a football pitch was with my father many, many years previous, it cost sixpence for him and threepence for me, now I am showing my age...
Since Wembley I have followed STFC avidly they are a wonderful club and one we should all be so proud of.
It was onwards for me, although in ‘politics’ we all, like life, have our ups and our downs. I have the utmost respect for my fellow friends, they all do a fantastic job.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the community as a councillor and to be able to fill my life outside of that role with so many wonderful people, and I shall do as long as I am able.
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