FORMER Worthing Gang Show wardrobe mistress Margaret Walton has died peacefully at her home.
The widow of former Herald and Gazette journalist Tom Walton, Margaret had lived in the area for nearly 50 years. She had moved south in 1946 to be with her husband, who worked as chief reporter for the Worthing Herald for many years and was editor of the Shoreham Herald for about five years.
Margaret and Tom met in 1941 at Catterick Camp in North Yorkshire, where Tom was stationed in the Royal Signals and Margaret worked in the drawing office preparing maps and identification charts for the troops. They married in 1942.
Tom, known as ‘Tim’ to his colleagues at the Herald, started as a reporter in 1937 and quickly became chief reporter of the Worthing paper. After a number of years, he was promoted to editor of the Shoreham Herald, where he worked until his death in 1977.
Margaret and Tom had four children, Jane, Timothy, Nicola and Simon, but Timothy died in 2007.
Tom and Margaret were very involved in the community. Tom played rugby and rowed for the Worthing teams, Margaret was a governor of Lyndhurst Primary School and a Guide leader, and later they were active members of Lancing Rotary and Inner Wheel Clubs.
Margaret was twice president of Lancing Inner Wheel but her greatest pleasure came from her involvement with Worthing Gang Show. She was wardrobe mistress for more than 30 years and she and her team, including her dear friend and fellow Guider Jane Phipps, made costumes for more than 15 shows.
Both the Scout and Guide movements publicly recognised Margaret’s contribution to their organisations through her work for the Worthing Gang Show.
After Tom died, Margaret stayed in Lancing, but the devastation of the hurricane in 1987 made her reconsider her priorities and she moved to Ferring in 1988 to a smaller, more manageable property.
She quickly became involved in village life and was a member of the WI, FADS and the horticultural society, among other organisations, where she formed many firm and devoted friendships.
Margaret’s other great love was gardening and she spent hours developing and maintaining her wonderful quarter-acre garden in Ferring, which was the scene of many joyful gatherings with family and friends, including her 90th birthday party in August 2014. Margaret also opened her garden to the public on a number of occasions.
Nicola said: “Margaret’s enduring wish was to be at home with her cat, her garden and family and friends around her and she passed away there peacefully on January 5.”
The funeral will take place at Worthing Crematorium on Thursday, January 21, at 12.20pm. Family flowers only, donations to The British Heart Foundation c/o H. D. Tribe funeral directors.
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