Remembering Doreen Service

Doreen Service lived on Foxhouse Lane in Maghull, opposite the former Red House pub (now The Fox), for many a year before retiring to Rock Lane in Melling opposite the Bootle Arms pub. Her husband Ian died quite some years ago when they lived in Maghull and Doreen herself passed away very recently at the grand old age of 91. Doreen had been a teacher and a local magistrate.

I relate this information not just because some Maghull and Melling residents will have known Doreen and will be sad to hear that she has passed on but because she was a significant part of one of the biggest political events of the 1980’s – The famous 1981 Crosby By-election (see link below) won by the SDP’s Shirley Williams, now Baroness Williams of Crosby.

Doreen and Ian’s Foxhouse Lane home became akin to a parliamentary by-election HQ full of photocopiers, state of the art computers and dot matrix printers – it was the very early days of IT becoming big in UK politics. As a fresh faced young Liberal helping in that 1981 campaign I recall going to their house to find it full of people, boxes of leaflets to be delivered and with well known political faces of the day popping in and out for tea, sandwiches etc.

Not many people would allow their homes to be taken over in that way but Doreen and Ian were very much into helping Shirley Williams win in any way they could. And even after Shirley’s victory they backed her up whenever she needed help often putting people up (including Shirley) at a moments notice.

I really got to know Doreen well after these momentous times, following Ian’s death and her move to Melling. I would call to see her now and again to talk about the old days and indeed more modern political problems as Doreen never lost her reforming zeal. Sadly, her physical health was poor and she could no longer get around much at all, Finally she had to go into a nursing home where she died a few days ago. Her funeral was yesterday.

Thanks to Andrew Blackburn I managed to track down the photo of Doreen above which was taken in May 1992. She was a strong person who had strong views and she did not have much time for fools. We got along well and I will certainly remember her. On the face of it just another elderly lady living out her retirement under the radar yet she was of huge local political influence in the early 1980’s. RIP Doreen

4 thoughts on “Remembering Doreen Service

  1. Irene Donnelkan says:

    What a lovely tribute to a wonderful lady. Didn’t know if Doreen but she seemed to be a very energetic lady politically in her day. I admired Shirley Williams greatly and voted for her. Two great ladies.

  2. Jack says:

    Hello there, Tony

    My name is Jack Moore, i am the son of Michael Moore who in turn was the son of Doreen’s brother, John. My father was very close to Doreen, as were my sister and I as children. We would often visit her in her home in McGull, and I have many fond memories of her from those times.

    Having recently attended her funeral, it was of great comfort that so many unexpected guests had arrived to pay their respects. We had thought that most of the people that knew Doreen were likely no longer with us, but many former colleagues and students were at the funeral.

    It is wonderful to see people still remember my Great Aunt, and to hear so many stories from times before I was even born, and the impact of Doreen on many people’s lives.

    I fondly remember her as a strong, kind and compassionate woman with a deep sense of community and making a difference.

    Thank you for writing this article and sharing another memory of Doreen

    • Chris Driver says:

      I’m sure you mean “Maghull”, but these pesky spelling correctors need correcting themselves.
      See my own kind thoughts on Doreen, a true lady.

  3. Chris Driver says:

    Today is my 83rd birthday and I am so pleased to read the kind thoughts on a wonderfully kind lady, who epitomised what the two words, “kind” and “lady” actually mean.
    I came to know both Doreen and Siv very well via the S.D.P. and I met Shirley Williams through Doreen.
    They were both kind and very much ladies but with the common touch.

    I helped on the computer side of things and even remember getting up early to drive Clement Freud to some electoral event before driving off to start a day’s teaching.

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