Memorial service for historian Margaret Ashby will be 'fitting send off for amazing lady'

Margaret Ashby has sadly died aged 80

A memorial service for Margaret Ashby will be held this week following her death earlier this year - Credit: Friends of Forster Country

A memorial service for Stevenage historian Margaret Ashby will take place this weekend, following her death earlier this year.

Margaret's funeral was held while coronavirus restrictions were still in place, meaning only 30 people were able to attend the service.

Close friend Reverend Mervyn Terrett was determined to organised a larger-scale memorial service when restrictions allowed, so that the hundreds of people who wished to pay their respects to Margaret could do so. 

Margaret sadly died from cancer on March 8 this year, 11 days before her 81st birthday.

Forster Country campaigners, Anne Conchie, John Alabaster, Angela Hepworth, James Green, Margaret As

Forster Country campaigners, Anne Conchie, John Alabaster, Angela Hepworth, James Green, Margaret Ashby, and John Spiers. - Credit: Harry Hubbard

She was known for her fierce campaigning to preserve Forster Country, as well as supporting Stevenage people in gaining higher education with the Betty Game Opportunities Trust - which she founded together with Rev Mervyn.

In 1989, Margaret co-founded Friends of Forster Country - alongside Dr John Hepworth - and later campaigned hard against the development which will see 800 homes and a primary school built on the land between North Road and Weston Road. 

Betty Game Opportunities Trust trustees Roger Hardman, Margaret Ashby and councillor Sharon Taylor.

Betty Game Opportunities Trust trustees Roger Hardman, Margaret Ashby and councillor Sharon Taylor. - Credit: Archant

Rev Mervyn said: "This will be an occasion to give this amazing lady the fitting send off which was prevented back in March.

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"We could only have about 30 people at the funeral, and a lot of people at the time asked if we would have a memorial service. She was very well known in the community as the town's historian.

"She had been going to Holy Trinity for the whole of her 80 years. This is the opportunity for people to remember her, but in times that are a bit better.

"We will have speakers from the museum and Friends of Forster Country - all people that reflect Margaret's life and interests."

Chairman of the Friends of Forster Country, John Spiers, and the group's co-founder, local historia

Chairman of the Friends of Forster Country, John Spiers, and the group's co-founder local historian Margaret Ashby - Credit: Brendan Falvey

Tributes to Margaret Ashby, who lived in Stevenage her entire life, poured in following her sad death. 

Margaret's memorial service will take place on Saturday, September 25 at 3pm, at Holy Trinity Church in Stevenage Old Town - where she worshipped all her life.

Contributions are being made by the various organisations she was involved with, including Friends of Forster Country, the Betty Game Opportunities Trust,  Friends of Holy Trinity, Stevenage Museum, The County Archives Department, Stevenage Borough Council and of course her beloved Holy Trinity Church itself.

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