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‘Kay’s influence will live on in our hearts’

16 November, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

Kay Dixon: ‘Really brainy and hard-working’

FOR the last years of her life Kay Dixon, who has died aged 76, lived in Canonbury Street and joked that she thought herself to be the only Conservative voter in the borough.

She met her husband Gordon as a teenager at a Young Conservatives event in Edmonton and they both forged a life in politics.

Kay was elected as a Conservative councillor in Edmonton in 1963. Gordon stood for election twice in 1966 and 1970, losing to Labour in Lewisham South.

“Politics was something we would all speak about round the dinner table,” said her daughter Emma, 47, who stood for the Green Party in 2010. “My mum was really brainy and incredibly hard-working. She went back to work after having my brother and me, which was avant-garde in the 70s.”

Kay trained as a secretary after leaving St Martha’s convent school, in Hadley Wood. “She had many happy years working as a secretary. She was due to celebrate six decades of friendship with her friends from secretarial school this year,” said Emma, “She had hundreds of friends and we received over 100 cards and letters for her.”

In 1981, Kay was appointed assistant to Conservative MP Robert Adley. She worked as a special advisor for the Department for Education and was head of press and public affairs at the London Stock Exchange, where she retired in 2001.

After Gordon’s death 11 years ago, Kay forged a new life for herself by going to university. In 2012, she graduated from Birkbeck University, where a prize has been set up in her memory, with a first-class BA in art history. She also gained an MA in garden history from the University of Buck­ingham. “One of the things my parents valued above everything else is education,” said son Thomas, 45, a history professor at Queen Mary, University of London.

Kay became a volunteer tour guide at the Charles Dickens Museum, Tate Modern and Tate Britain. She did the gardening at the Dickens museum, researching plants popular in the 1800s, such as geraniums.

Dr Cindy Sughrue, director of the Charles Dickens Museum, in Holborn, said: “Her influence will live on in our hearts. We will remember her contribution with fondness, not to mention the garden which she helped shape with warmth and colour.”

Kay died in September after being diagnosed with lung cancer in June. She is survived by Emma and Thomas and grandchildren Kate, 19, Tom, 17, William, 14, Caleb, 8, and Laurie, 6.

Emma is fundraising for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation by swimming 10 miles at Parliament Hill Lido.

She said: “November is lung cancer awareness month. There is such good awareness around breast cancer, but lung cancer kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Mum was a lifelong non-smoker and 15 per cent of people who get lung cancer are.”

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