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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Obituary - Marlene Allport, of Brigham

Marlene Allport, who was at the heart of the Brigham community and secretary of the village’s gardening club, died aged 74 on April 3.

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GARDENER: Marlene Allport, a stalwart of the Brigham community and secretary of Brigham Gardeners

Mrs Allport was a member of Brigham Gardeners for many years and was secretary for the last 26, where she helped to organise the club’s spring show, annual show in August and the autumn show in October.

She won many prizes for her preserves and flower arrangements and became a driving force behind the club after her husband Robert, who was club chairman, died in 2003.

Her family said they wanted to donate a trophy in her memory at a show to mark the club’s 60th birthday and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Mrs Allport moved to Brigham aged six in the early 1940s, where she lived in the Apple Tree Pub with her brother Ronnie and parents Ted and Cathie Smith who ran the pub.

She went to St Bridget’s School from 1943 to 1948 before moving on to Cockermouth Grammar School.

When she left school, she worked at a Workington architects, and at 18 she married Robert at St Bridget’s Church in 1955.

The couple spent the first years of their married life in Blindcrake, where they had their eldest child Robert, before moving back to Brigham in 1957.

They went on to have three more children – Catherine, Lorna and Jonathan.

The couple inherited land in High Brigham from Mr Allport’s father and built a bungalow, where they lived with their family from 1972.

Mrs Allport joined Brigham Parish Council after her husband died and was a parish councillor for several years. She was also a member of the Brigham Friendship Group for 20 years and was a trustee of the memorial hall.

She was crowned village carnival queen in 1953.

Mrs Allport died at home and her funeral was held on Wednesday at St Bridget’s Church, followed by a celebration of her life at the memorial hall.

She is survived by her brother Ronnie, children Robert, Catherine, Lorna and Jonathan, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Her family said: “She was at the heart of community life and the heart of our family. We were very proud to have her as a mam.

“Mam enjoyed watching, listening and spending time with all her family as they went through each stage of life. She was there for them if they needed support. She was there for us every day, for special celebrations and her presence made each milestone magical.

“Mam had an enthusiasm for life and a lovely sense of fun. She had a wonderful ability to make all her family and friends feel special.

“She was a gracious lady who will be missed by all her family and friends.”

Ruth Holden, treasurer of Brigham Gardeners, said: “Marlene was not just the secretary of Brigham Gardeners for longer than anyone, including herself, could remember; she was Brigham Gardeners.

“She was the backbone; without her it would have been shapeless.

“Under Marlene’s guidance the club encouraged not just flowers and vegetables, but the village community itself to bloom. The Marlenes of this world provide the glue that holds communities together.

“Many in Brigham cannot remember Brigham Gardeners before her. Most of us cannot imagine it without her.”

Joan Lawson, chairman of Brigham Gardeners, said: “I’d known Marlene for many years. We went to school together and had been friends ever since.

“She was a true friend to everybody. She was well-known in the village and very well liked by everybody.

“If there was something going on in the village she was always there to help out and get involved with the rest of the community.

“She was very much the driving force behind the show. She had even organised everything for next Monday’s show and had asked my daughter to come along and help judge.

“Marlene loved to make preserves and won many prizes for her produce she also won many trophies for her flower arrangements.

“The show will have been going 60 years in June, and it’s so sad that she will not be there to celebrate.

“We have to keep Brigham Gardeners going in her memory.”

Edna Edger, chairman of Brigham Parish Council, said: “I’d known Marlene for around 60 years and she was a dear friend who I and I know others will miss greatly.

“She was an important member of the parish council because she had lived in the village for many years and knew things about it that others didn’t know. Her points were always valid and she was very knowledgeable.

“She only missed the last meeting due to her health but she never, ever, let us down and was dedicated to the council.

“Marlene was also truly dedicated to the village and wanted the best for Brigham because it was her village and her home. She was involved with everything to do with the parish and worked hard for the good of the community.

“She wasn’t a pushy person but she always got her point across in a very dignified way, which is what people respected her for.

“She was so brave and an inspiration to us all.”

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