Margaret Croston from Bridge Drive, Christleton, who died on October 23rd after a short illness, was a truly remarkable lady, someone who served Christleton so well during her lifetime. This is a short tribute to commemorate her outstanding contribution to both the village and city.
Margaret was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Years Honours List 2014, to commemorate her 50years of outstanding service to the community of Christleton and nearby City of Chester. Margaret was a Parish Councillor at Christleton for 30years, and its first Lady Chairman. She was a Governor at the Primary School for 25 years, including many of those as its chair. She helped organise the annual “Charles Mack Concerts” when young people from both Primary and High Schools came together annually to raise money for charity in memory of much loved Rector Charles Mack who died in 1986.
She was also secretary of the John Sellers Educational Charity, for 36 years until her death, and was proud to say that she was still using the original minute book from 1779. Her expertise as a Secretary was much in demand, and amongst her many roles, was secretary of St James’ Parochial Church Council for 21years. She organised many of the fund raising activities, fairs and special events for the church and local community.
She was a founder member of the Christleton Village History Group, and carried out research for the 1977 book “Christleton a Cheshire Village”, for “Christleton 2000years of History” published to commemorate the Millennium, and “Christleton Great War Voices” telling the story of the village through the years of the Great War 1914-18.
Margaret was also correspondent for the Chester Chronicle and other local newspapers, contributing weekly village news columns until the practice was discontinued much to her disgust. During her lifetime in Christleton she created the most wonderful series of scrap books of cuttings and printed information published about the village. These form a unique collection, a living history that portrays a fascinating account of village life for well over 40 years. She also contributed regular articles for the Parish Magazine.
Margaret compiled the original Christleton Cook Book, drawing on her own expertise in baking and cooking, to add to those recipes she persuaded many of her friends to contribute. This small publication can still be found in use in many kitchens throughout the village, and was later updated and revised as “The Christleton Millennium Cook Book. Margaret was a valued member of the Village Show Committee, a regular competitor and prize winner, in many of the categories on offer at the annual show.
Margaret was a keen participant in traditional village events, especially The Fete, and together with husband Alf always entered the Fancy Dress Competition. They would always dress in the theme for each Fete, and take part in the Rose Queen procession through the village. They were so well dressed in their many disguises, that they almost always won a prize, and did so as recently as this last summer. Margaret was delighted to have been asked to open the Fete in 2014 in recognition of her honour of the award of the BEM, and subsequent visit to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
She was Chairman and Committee Member of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association for many years, and during her period of office as Chairman raised enough money to purchase guide dog “Chrissy”. She was a valued guide at Chester Cathedral, and an active member of the Chester Ladies Luncheon Club, Chester Ladies Circle and Chester Tangent.
Margaret was an extremely good and efficient organiser, and her many skills came to the fore as Speaker Secretary of the Chester Society for Natural Science, Art and Literature, for its lecture series at the Grosvenor Museum. She was always able to source and find excellent speakers, and provide a stimulating programme of lectures for the members. One of her most popular speakers, Rosie Swale often stayed with Margaret and Alf, and carried a little toy mouse named “Christleton” in her rucksack as she travelled all round the world on her many amazing adventures.
In her working life Margaret was Secretary to the Treasurer of Cheshire County Council, Secretary to the Dean of Law at Manchester University, and Secretary to “Croston Engineering”, the well known storage and bulk handling engineers, of which she was co –founder with her husband.
Despite all the above she also supported the activities of her beloved husband Alf to whom she had been married for 66 years, their sons Nevil and Roger, and cared for a strong loving extended family, to whom she was a very special mum, grandma and great grandma.
Margaret was a unique lady, someone who contributed so much to the village and people of Christleton, and the wider community of the City of Chester for all of her life. She was a kind, generous, loving and a specially gifted person who devoted her life to others. She had a strong faith and was a regular and faithful worshipper at St James’ Christleton and it is fitting that she will be laid to rest in the churchyard, of the village for whom she gave so much.
Alf and Margaret
Margaret with her BEM Medal
Alf and Margaret
Gertrude and Margaret