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Bidding farewell to a real council stalwart
MOURNERS have been paying their respects to a political stalwart.
St Matthias Church in Malvern Link was packed when a memorial service was held for former town, district and county councillor Beryl Hickling.
Colleagues past and present from all three councils joined family and friends to remember Mrs Hickling, who died on Sunday, September 9, aged 87.
In his speech, Mrs Hickling’s son Matthew told how his mother was born in Dorset and in 1942 joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service. It was here she met her future husband Hugh, whom she married in 1945.
Mr Hickling subsequently joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the family lived by turns in Sarawak and Malaya, in South East Asia, Aden – near Saudi Arabia, and Gibraltar, where Mr Hickling served as attorney general.
However, the family also established a base in Malvern, which they moved back to after Mr Hickling retired from the civil service.
Mrs Hickling ran her own hair salon in Cowleigh Road and later managed the Heritage shop in Church Street, and later became involved in local politics.
She served on the old Hereford and Worcester County Council from 1989 to 1993, and Worcestershire County Council from 2001 to 2005.
She was also on Malvern Hills District Council and Malvern Town Council.
Council colleague David Watkins said in his eulogy that at one stage Mrs Hickling served on all three at the same time.
He said: “To all three she brought an astute mind and voice to debate that was always fully prepared.
“She was a highly valued councillor in the council chamber but of far greater importance was the help and assistance she gave to all in the community she served, irrespective of position or political colour, a lesson that would serve well any aspiring citizen today wishing to enter the portals of local democracy.”
Ian Hopwood, the mayor of Malvern, said: “I have known Beryl for 25 years, and she has been a great friend and confidante.
“I could not want for a better friend and she did a great job during all her time on the town council.”