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Margaret Cawthorne R.I.P.

Wednesday 29 May 2019 - Filed under Events

We were very saddened by the loss of Margaret, our longest standing member and one of the most enthusiastic. Jerry prepared and read out a tribute, which is reproduced below.

Margaret Cawthorne

1946 – 2019

I first met Margaret in February 2001 when I started volunteering with Ripon Activity Project, known as RAP. She started coming to Ripon Gateway Club, now called Ark Ripon, not long after that when she was able to get a lift from the Evason family who were then living at Marton cum Grafton. Ark and RAP are both clubs for adults with learning disabilities.

Margaret was a key member of both clubs and kept us on the straight and narrow. She liked to organise things and boss us about a bit. She was a very committed Committee member for both groups and the Vice Chair of RAP for many years, keeping me on the straight and narrow. She wrote comprehensive reports for the AGM and took a very active part in Committee meetings, certainly not hesitating in having her say. After she stood down from the Committee I think our meetings were half an hour shorter ! She was always making suggestions and came up with some good ideas often in her frequent phone calls ! Probably her best idea was to hold a Talent Competition. We’ve been doing this each year since 2006, formerly at our Christmas meeting but nowadays with our AGM in October. We invite the Mayors of Boroughbridge, Pateley and Ripon who come along and do the scoring, a bit like ‘Strictly’, but with us they just hold up score cards. The trophy is named the ‘Margaret Cawthorne Talent Competition Trophy’ as it was Margaret who came up with the idea. The first trophy was made of a ceramic plaque which Margaret had made which was mounted on a wooden shield, Unfortunately, it was dropped at a winners’ house and the plaque shattered; we now have a wooden one made by Jennyruth Workshops which can bounce. Margaret would eagerly take part in the competition, known as ‘RAPz Got Talent’, and would recite her fantastic poems. “Rose with the snotty nose” was a favourite which she spoke in a strong Yorkshire accent, (excuse my southern try). Margaret was the first winner of the competition and won it 3 times. She was delighted to see it mentioned in the Ripon Gazette in the Mayors reports and in other articles which I submitted.

Margaret enjoyed other activities including bingo, organising raffles and taking part and writing quizzes. She also enjoyed craft activities and when I invited members to bring along some of their craft work for the RAP AGM to show the Mayors, Margaret could always be relied upon to bring a basket full of various items for display. In fact she was often the only one to bring anything and brought plenty for all.

Margaret especially enjoyed our summer outings where we went to places like Whitby and Beamish. She also enjoyed our annual trips to the Ripon Charity Panto.

I mentioned Margaret and her poetry. She was a member of a Ripon Scribes and I remember seeing a booklet which contained some of her poems.

Not only was she a published poet, but Margaret was also a competition winning photographer. In 2003 Mencap launched an annual photography competition called ‘Snap !’ which is still being held. In its first year Margaret was one of the winners with a photo taken of her brother Graham asleep in his chair. The photo was in a booklet, sadly I can’t find my copy, and it was displayed with all the other winners (about 30 I think) in the world-famous Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Isobel Wilson, the former Chair of Ripon Gateway Club, took Margaret to London by train to see the exhibition – that must have been a real treat. They actually travelled down twice because the first time was the day of the London bombings and they only got as far as Peterborough and had to return home. I think they stopped somewhere for fish and chips.

We will all miss Margaret with her great sense of humour. It has been a real pleasure to have known her. She was a lovely lady and we will miss her.

Rest in Peace, Margaret.

By Jerry Anderson 26 May 2019

Margaret loved to write poetry and won our annual talent show several times with her dialect verses. The show was Margaret’s idea and her name will be remembered each year when the winner receives the Margaret Cawthorne trophy.

Here is one of Margaret’s winning poems, always delivered in her own unmistakeable style and reproduced with the permission of her sister Marion.

Rest in Peace, Margaret. We shall miss you very much.