THE family of 89-year-old Margaret Fraser, who died in a collision with a delivery lorry in New Milton last month, have paid tribute to the “inspirational” grandmother who was known for friendliness and zest for life.
“She lived a contented and very happy life, always chatting to people she met and enjoying the simple pleasures,” said daughter Debbie and son Alan.
Margaret, who lived in Waverley Road, was a well-known character in the town as she used her four-wheeled walker on frequent trips to the shops and further afield in Barton and Lymington, with a cheery word for people along the way.
Her tragic death in the lunchtime accident in Station Road on 20th January stunned her family and friends, and Debbie and Alan say they want to thank those who sent messages of sympathy and helped Margaret during her many years living locally.
Although born in London, Margaret was brought up in Plymouth after her family moved south. She returned to the capital to work as a secretary and it was there that she met future husband David at a dance at Hammersmith Palais.
They married in 1952 and soon started a family; Nigel was born in 1954, followed by Debbie and Alan over the next three years.
Eventually the family moved into a new council house in Bournemouth as David was working at Plessey’s in Poole.
After the children left home and David retired, they moved to the Westwood Park mobile home site at Bashley. David enjoyed football and gardening, while Margaret became a keen cyclist after son Alan took her for a ride to Lulworth Cove.
They were soon expanding their horizons and rode to Cornwall several times for holidays in Polzeath, stopping off to see friends and relatives during the three-day journey.
Margaret also enjoyed holidays with the Cycle Touring Association, making many friends among fellow enthusiasts.
She was still cycling in her late 70s, and thought nothing of biking over to see Debbie at her home at Hengistbury Head.
After developing dementia, David went into a home in Christchurch in 2014. Margaret visited him several times a week until his death in 2017.
Later that year she decided to leave Westwood Park and moved into a retirement flat near the town centre. She was very happy there, remaining independent and active right up to her death, which occurred on a regular shopping trip.
Debbie and Alan said: “Many people will recall her, bent over her distinctive green four-wheeled walker, striding along in her determined way on her many trips out and about, which she loved so much.
“Some may have seen her walking along the clifftop path at Barton, maybe sitting on a bench enjoying the wonderful views with a picnic lunch. At Lymington, she would enjoy a cup of tea in the community centre where many kind folk chatted to her, and then she would walk along the quay, past the swimming pool, where she would sit and watch the Isle of Wight ferry coming and going.
“Kind folk even helped her this summer to enjoy a paddle in the sea at Friars Cliff.
“Each day, she would plan her own ‘adventure’ and was prepared for any type of weather.
“She lived a contented and very happy life, always chatting to people she met and enjoying the simple pleasures of life.”
They added: “Few people she met would have realised quite what an inspirational person she was. Her energy, enthusiasm and love of the outdoors never left her, and when she was no longer able to cycle, her walker enabled her to still lead an independent and full life.
“We would like to thank all those people who were so kind to our mum, the regular drivers on the X1 and X2 buses from New Milton, the train station manager who always helped her and the many, many people who met her in the town or out and about and enjoyed interesting conversations with her.
“We hope that mum’s legacy will be for people to take the time to chat and be kind to each other, it could just brighten someone’s day, as we are sure she did for many over the years.”
Margaret loved writing letters to keep in touch with people she had met over the years, and many were at her funeral.
As well as Debbie and Alan, she is survived by grandchildren Laura, Hannah, Emily, Miranda and Charlotte, and great-grandchildren Evie, Levison and Nathan. Eldest son Nigel sadly died of cancer in 2013.
This article was changed on 14th February 2020 to amend a date and add a photo.