Farewell to leader pat

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Hundreds of mourners said a sad farewell to Corby’s former council leader Pat Fawcett and celebrated the life of the town’s first lady.

Family, friends, politicians, representatives of community groups and residents, young and old, packed St Andrew’s Church of Scotland, Occupation Road, Corby, yesterday to pay their respects to the woman who touched so many lives.

Cllr Fawcett lost her long battle with lung cancer on April 27, aged 68, but has left a lasting legacy for the town she loved.

The service began with John Lennon’s Imagine, which was followed by the Rev Peter Mills welcoming the congregation. Deputy leader of the borough council Mark Pengelly was the first to pay tribute to Cllr Fawcett’s tireless work on behalf of the town.

He said: “Pat’s first love was her family and after that came Corby and its people. She delivered every promise she made. She was a fighter and she fought to make Corby a bigger, better, brighter place.”

Even after being diagnosed with cancer and having surgery, Cllr Fawcett showed courage and determination, seldom missing meetings or engagements.

Cllr Pengelly said: “She gave so much to the town.”

Former Corby Council chief executive Chris Mallender told the congregation: “Pat was a special person and a friend.

“She could put anyone at ease and could light up a room with a smile. She had an impish sense of humour.

“She instilled a sense of pride in the Corby community and made people believe anything was possible.”

Cllr Fawcett became a Labour councillor in May 1999, representing the Hillside ward, and was re-elected in 2003 as councillor for the East ward.

She stepped down as leader of the council in November but remained a councillor and attended council business throughout her illness.

She leaves three sons, Nick 42, Jason, 39, and Richard, 45, her sister Maureen and brother-in-law Stuart.

Richard spoke of his mother’s strength, integrity, respect, fairness and kindness.

He said: “She had the ability to see the world through eyes without prejudice. She showed us that everyone is equal.”

On behalf of Cllr Fawcett’s family he thanked everyone for their kindness and support.

Among the mourners were council leader Tom Beattie, leader of the Conservative group Cllr David Sims, leader of the Liberal Democrat group Chris Stanbra, acting chief executive Norman Stronach and many councillors, officers and staff from the authority.

Corby Police Commander Gary Williams and the Labour Party’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Corby, Andy Sawford, also attended the funeral which was followed by a private service and interment at Shire Lodge Cemetery, Corby.

Mourners left the church to the sound of Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, one of Cllr Fawcett’s favourites.