Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Christine Parker

Christine Parker's obituary in the Daily Telegraph. She and her husband John were the stalwart pillars of Liberalism in Orpington in the years before the 1962 by-election, laying the foundations for that victory by their concentration on the local elections, and building up the support base of activists who pitched in with enthusiasm when the opportunity arose. Her distinguished record of public activity, from wartime service to her effective chairmanship of the Orpington Urban District Council, comes across in this article, but I remember her best as a close personal friend and mentor. It was Christine who proposed to the local party executive that I should be the candidate at the by-election. To add a sentence to this account, when our previous candidate Jack Galloway was reluctantly persuaded to stand aside because of his marital problems, Christine telephoned the Chief Whip, Donald Wade MP, to ask his advice on choosing a successor. Donald said that a local person should be appointed, because the writ might be moved at any moment. "Haven't you got a local councillor who would be suitable?" he asked. She reported this conversation to the executive, and pointed to me as one who filled the bill.

The writ wasn't moved until several months later, but that's another story.

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