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Obituary: Margaret Hopwood

Margaret Hopwood (1924–2011)

Manchester Branch are saddened to report the death in Bolton of Margaret Hopwood, the widow of Alf Atkinson, late General Secretary of the Socialist Party.

Margaret joined Manchester Branch in 1945, were she met Alf, having been introduced to socialism by her father Ernie Hopwood, a Socialist Standard subscriber and sympathizer. She remained active in the branch until it folded in 1957 and was involved in the re-forming of branch in 1968, a very active period in Manchester. She was responsible for organizing the 1969 and 1970 Manchester Summer schools, both tremendous successes.

In 1975 she and Alf moved to East Grinstead, a career move for Margaret who became headmistress of a school teaching English as a second language to immigrant children. This gave her an opportunity to work at Head Office, and she was Overseas Contact Secretary and a member of the Library Committee for many years. She was also a founder member of Croydon branch in 1981. Generous and hospitable, she and Alf accommodated Bolton and Lancaster delegates at Conference and Autumn Delegate Meeting for years – more than eight members at once sometimes.

Despite her commitment to socialism, Margaret could be critical at times of the Party and its members. Often, her opening remark was "and what have you done for socialism today, comrade?" She was by far the best Socialist Standard seller I have ever seen; no street corner was safe. On retirement, she and Alf moved to Shrewsbury, attending meetings in Birmingham until Alf’s death in 1998, when she transferred to Manchester Branch again.

Margaret was clever, funny and a true socialist.  She will be missed by her many friends and comrades. Our sympathy goes out to her children, Owen and Adele, both members of the Party, and to her grandchildren.
JM