By Christine de Kock
POPULAR Yarraville resident Mabel Ward lost her battle with cancer last month.
She was diagnosed with cancer of the gall bladder in December 2005 and died on 23 February. Her funeral was held on 1 March at Hollibones crematorium in Altona North.
City of Maribyrnong councillor Catherine Cumming honoured the memory of Mrs Ward, 78, at the council meeting last Tuesday.
Cr Cumming said one of her earliest memories of Mrs Ward was at a pool rally in 1998.
“She was the Save the Footscray Pool Pin Up Girl,” Cr Cumming said.
“Mabel’s passion for the pool came about from her children and grandchildren using the pool.
“Mabel learnt to swim at 65 and entered a master’s tournament but hurt her shoulder.
“That still did not deter Mabel from being involved in community activities.”
Mrs Ward grew up in England and migrated to Australia with her husband and three children in 1955.
The family settled in Yarraville and Mrs Ward later gave birth to another two children.
“Mabel said to me that she could remember her father riding his bike to attend council meetings back in Manchester,” Cr Cumming said.
“She said that her father would go no matter what the weather. Hail, sleet or snow.
“I believe this early memory, sowed the seed of the importance of being actively involved in the community,” Cr Cumming said.
She said she was privileged to have shared in some of Mabel’s community life.
“She might have looked soft on the outside but she was a no nonsense woman who had a strength that inspired others.”
Mrs Ward’s daughter Diane Anderson, 52, said her mother would be remembered as a determined woman.
“She was also honest and loyal,” Mrs Anderson said.
“She was always thinking of other people and putting them before herself.
“It didn’t matter what she did, she was always wondering what the consequences would be to others rather than to herself.”
She was also a member of the Mobil Community Liaison Committee, an anti-truck activist and a trainer for Yarraville Boys Club, Yarraville Football Club and Spotswood Football Club.
Mrs Ward was a nurse for 45 years and worked at intervals at the then Footscray Hospital, Williamstown Hospital and at the former Queen Victoria Hospital.
Mrs Ward leaves four children (one son is now dead) and 14 grandchildren.
By Christine de Kock