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Camden New Journal - OBITUARY
Published: 26 July 2007
Upholder of ideals of liberty and inclusion

MARGARET Little, who has died aged 78, will be remembered for her dedicated service to the ­people of Hampstead ward for whom she worked as a Lib-Dem councillor for 12 years.
Margaret was born in Bedfordshire, the daughter of a country doctor. When she recalled her childhood, she remembered the comings and goings of the patients in her father’s surgery, and the numerous American airmen who would pop in for home cooking during the war.
Billeted near by, they would turn to the family in order to ward off feelings of homesickness.
Margaret moved to London shortly after the war to find work. She found a home in Hampstead in 1947 and stayed in the area for the rest of her life. Even though she was to move house three times, she always found a place within the NW3 postcode.
When she first arrived in London she managed to hold down two full- time job, using her creativity as an advertisement executive, and also working as a journalist on women’s magazines, offering homespun tips to readers and discussing issues such as what ­marriage meant for a woman who paid tax. This was a pertinent issue as the war had only recently brought many women into full-time employment.
Her first child, Robin, was born in 1952, and Margaret settled down to the life of a full-time mother, having three more children over the next 14 years.
After the birth of her youngest child, David, in 1966, Margaret enrolled at the University of London to study history, and then went on to qualify as a history teacher. This led to a 20-year stint in a school in Highbury.
Margaret’s interests were wide ranging: on a professional level, she helped develop schemes to get young people into trades and work, bringing businesses and schools together. Her ideas were taken up by the Inner London Education Authority and businesses acted on her advice.
Although she has been described by her son Robin as not a particularly political person, she had a strong sense of civic duty – it was that which spurred her to stand as a councillor for three terms.
She told the New Journal last year after deci­ding to stand down at the 2006 elections that she was a natural Liberal. She had become politically active after divor­cing her husband, who worked in the finance industry.
She said at the time: “My husband was in the City so I was rather stuck with being a Conservative because of the social links. But when the SDP started in the 1980s, I was divorced and the politics of it just suited me very well.
“I suppose as a Hampstead teacher I am the archetypal Lib Dem mem­ber. It’s about a particular emphasis on liberty and egalitarianism and inclusion, which I have always believed in.”
Margaret also spent many hours working for charities, sitting on the committee of the Hampstead Wells and Campden Trust, among others.
But away from paid and voluntary work, Margaret had a burning interest in history and culture which took her around the world.
She celebrated her 70th birthday among the peaks of the Himalayas; she spent time in China, and went to South America on a trekking holiday in her mid-70s. And Each year she would head for the Swiss Alps on a walking holiday and combine it with the Verbier music festival.
She was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, and even though this required frequent trips to hospital for treatment, her wanderlust was not dampened. Earlier this year she travelled to Cyprus and Bordeaux.
She was also a regular walker on the Heath, and a familiar face in Hampstead village.
Her reputation as a councillor was built on the fact she listened to every constituent who approached her.
Often at surgeries she would be asked for advice on something that was not quite within her remit – a leaking roof, or a domestic problem – but Margaret would never ignore it. Instead, she would act, and do her best to solve the problem in front of her.
She will best be remembered for her dedication to the place she made her home.
Dan Carrier

* Margaret Little’s funeral will be held at St John’s Parish Church, Hampstead, on Tuesday at 2pm. All are welcome.

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