Warm tributes paid to 107-year-old Margaret

Margaret Le Mare who lived until she was 107
Margaret Le Mare who lived until she was 107

A passionate Quaker who remembered the sinking of the Titanic has died at the age of 107.

Margaret Le Mare, who was a well-known character in Sibford where she lived and worked for almost 50 years, died at The Ridings Care Home in Banbury on March 8.

Born in Leeds in 1907, she came to Sibford in the late 1950s to teach at the Quaker school.

Her nephew Philip Le Mare, of Adderbury, said: “What made her well known in the area was her Quakerism; that was the main part of her life. She taught at the Quaker school and that was really the essence of her life.”

Although Miss Le Mare, who taught French, never married or had a family of her own, she was very family orientated. Mr Le Mare said: “She kept the family together and was always very involved. She also researched the family history from when they came over from France as persecuted Huguenots and set up as silk weavers in London’s Spitalfields.”

Miss Le Mare’s long life meant she experienced many significant historical events first hand and her first memory was the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 as her uncle died in the tragedy. Mr Le Mare said: “She also went through two world wars as a Quaker, which can’t have been easy, and she was an absolute socialist.”

Miss Le Mare was so appalled when Margaret Thatcher announced ‘there was no such thing as society’ that she was compelled to join the Labour Party, of which she remained a committed member.

Mr Le Mare said: “We would talk about politics and she’d be right up to date with everything, as well as cricket and snooker. If we wanted to know the scores, we’d come to her.” He said she always read the papers, with the Banbury Guardian being one of her favourites.

In Sibford she was not only an active Quaker but also organised quizzes, was involved in the village hall and really made an impact in the community. Mr Le Mare said: “It was her stature. She was very small, under 5ft, but she was formidable. You would see her at a meeting talking to a man of 6ft 6 waving her finger in the air. She had a lot of wisdom and people listened to her because of all of her experience.”

Miss Le Mare had been a resident at The Ridings for the past five years. Hospitality manager Juliet Guntrip said: “She was a truly remarkable lady and it was our pleasure to care for her.”

She was buried at the Sibford Quaker Meeting House on March 15 and the service was a special one for funeral director Edd Frost, of Edd Frost and Daughters, as he knew Miss Le Mare his entire life. He said: “She was a well known character at Sibford School, where I was a pupil, and I remember her as a little white-haired old lady. But she was immaculate, very smart and well dressed and she commanded this kind of aura; it was like she glided through the school corridors. She was definitely a force to be reckoned with for a lady under 5ft but she was also very kind. She will be missed and I was so honoured I got to send her home.”