In Memory of My Grandma Doris

My Life

I wanted to post a couple of photos of my Grandma with my son Harris and a link to an article from the Telegraph and Argus printed last week and one from The Guardian (I have also pasted both of the article's contents below). I am so proud to be her grandaughter and Harris just adored her, like we all did, - he would smother her with kisses all over when we went to visit!,,2286209,00.html

The Telegraph & Argus
Tributes as former Lord Mayor dies
Thursday 12th June 2008
By Jo Winrow 

Tributes have poured in to former Lord Mayor and CBE Doris Birdsall, who died yesterday at the age of 92.

Mrs Birdsall was a Labour councillor for 26 years, twice chairman of the city's education committee and was honoured with a CBE after her retirement from politics in 1984.

She joined the Labour Party in 1948 and first became a councillor in 1958 when she won a seat in Bradford Moor. She represented the ward for 13 years before switching to Wyke, where she was councillor from 1971 until she stood down in 1984. In 1989 she was awarded the Labour Party Merit Award in recognition of her services to education.

During her 26 years in local politics, Mrs Birdsall, who later lived in Baildon, was Lord Mayor from 1975-76 and set up a trust fund for mentally handicapped young people and provided holidays for families in need.

The scheme continued for more than a decade and became one of the longest-running Lord Mayor's charities in the Council's history. The Doris Birdsall Trust Fund bought a mobile home in Skipsea, and raised more than £30,000 for charities helping mentally handicapped people.

She received honourary degrees from Bradford University and Lesley College, Boston to add to her university doctorate bestowed in 1993.

That year she was the representative for Yorkshire West at the Senior Citizens' Parliament meeting, organised by the European Parliament, which was held in Luxembourg.

Mrs Birdsall was deputy chairman of education when Bradford became the first authority in the country to abolish the 11-plus and bring in comprehensive education. She was also deputy chairman of the Labour group for three years.

Labour Councillor John Godward (Great Horton), who knew Mrs Birdsall for nearly 40 years, said he was "proud and privileged" to serve on the Council with her.

"She was an outstanding, fiery, and feisty debater and passionately committed to the education service both locally and nationally," he said.

"Doris Birdsall was a legend to Bradford Council and to education - she really did care. Bradford is a poorer place for her passing."

Councillor Dale Smith (Con, Wharfedale) said: "I regard her as an icon. She had the interests of young people and education very close to her heart and she gave a distinctive service to the district.

"Beneath her fiery red hair she had a very sharp and keen brain and was an orator of some note. She will be sadly missed."

Councillor David Ward (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) said: "Her reputation went before her.

"There are certain people whose contributions are so recognisable that they transcend parties and I certainly was well aware of her contribution to education before I became a councillor in the 1980s. She was an expert in her field. I met her on a number of occasions and she really knew her stuff."

Her husband Jim, died eight years ago, and she leaves two children Joan and Malcolm as well as two grand-children and a great-grandson.

The funeral will take place at the Parish Church, Bingley, at noon on Monday, followed by cremation at Nab Wood Crematorium at 12.40pm. The family has asked for donations in lieu of flowers to the Alzheimer's Society.

The Guardian
Thursday June 19, 2008
By Jacki Proctor

Doris Birdsall, who has died aged 92, was the only girl from her class to pass the 11-plus. Her mother had been educated part-time and worked in the mill for five-and-a-half days a week, so she was determined that Doris should have a good education. Her father was a trade union organiser and, later, a Labour party councillor in Bradford, leaving Doris with responsibility for the shopping and the household budget. "I was a latchkey kid," she said.
She left school at 16, married in 1940 and, in 1948, moved with her husband Jim to Hartlepool. They had two children. Doris was shocked by the poverty she saw in the north-east. At a rally in Darlington, she heard a speech about the social divisions perpetuated by the 11-plus, and education provision became her main political motivator.

The family returned to Bradford in the mid-1950s, and Doris was elected to the city council. As deputy chair of the education committee, she was on the first authority in the country to introduce comprehensive education. She was in at the creation of Bradford University and the comprehensive community college, serving on their councils until her retirement in 1993, interested as much in provision for the disadvantaged and disabled as in degree courses.

Doris was always immaculately (and economically) turned out. She prepared for her year as lord mayor (1975-76) by making 15 outfits and a beret. When her hair began to grey, she took her spaniel to the hairdresser and said: "Make me that colour".

She was awarded a CBE in 1986 for services to education, and her honours included a master's degree from Bradford University in 1993.

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