A fond farewell to ‘our Margaret’ – a community stalwart who died suddenly

Community stalwart Margaret Girvan who passed away aged 58
Community stalwart Margaret Girvan who passed away aged 58

Poignant tributes have been paid to a community stalwart who has died suddenly.

Margaret Girvan, 58, who was well-known throughout East Durham, having been involved with a number of community initiatives throughout her life, died at her home.

Her sister, Lucy Hovvels, a Durham County Councillor for Trimdon and Thornley, said: “It’s such a shock.

“Margaret did play a big part in the community, and the whole community has been devastated by her death.

“She really was a pillar of the community, she was passionate about where she lives. I think that was demonstrated by the activities she was involved in.”

Margaret’s death on October 16 comes just nine months after her sister, Carol Dodsworth passed away, aged 60.

Margaret, of Trimdon Grange, had most recently been a community organiser for Peterlee-based East Durham Trust.

Before that she worked for the East Durham Community Play Network, providing the Play Rangers initiative, until the network went into voluntary liquidation last year. Margaret also helped to organise snow wardens for East Durham Trust, delivering training to people to visit vulnerable residents and clear paths during cold snaps.

She was involved with fundraising for the Trimdon Grange Banner Appeal and Trimdon Grange Community Centre and also helped Trimdon Station Residents’ Group.

East Durham Trust chief executive Malcolm Fallow said: “If I could employ a dozen Margaret Girvans the organisation would flourish.

“Margaret was the epitome of what a community worker should be.”

Margaret, who was mum to Timothy and a grandmother-of-four, was born in Peterlee but moved to Trimdon as a girl when her father, Robert Williams, got a job at the local pit.

Margaret was also a barmaid at The Dovecot pub, in Trimdon Station, for the past 20 years.

She had previously worked for the Purvis store in Trimdon, then Trimdon Motor Services, known as the TMS bus company, and the Co-op Bank, at Shotton.

Lucy said about 160 people packed into Trimdon Colliery Workingmen’s Club for a wake after Margaret’s funeral was held at St Alban’s Church, in Trimdon Grange.

A metal chair, designed by young people from Trimdon Grange Community Centre, bearing a plaque in memory of Margaret, will be unveiled at the Redesdale Court play park in Trimdon Grange at 5.30pm on November 13.