Birthday honour for town’s ‘first lady’

Winifred McLoughlin, 90 years old, has had a community notice board on Sagar Street, Castleford, dedicated to her, for her services to the community.'p6127a134'Picture by Andrew Bellis.
Winifred McLoughlin, 90 years old, has had a community notice board on Sagar Street, Castleford, dedicated to her, for her services to the community.'p6127a134'Picture by Andrew Bellis.

CASTLEFORD’S ‘first lady’ celebrated her 90th birthday with the surprise unveiling of a town centre plaque in her honour.

Winnie McLoughlin, a former councillor and mayor of Castleford, was present when a new community notice board at Sagar Street was revealed with an inscription dedicated to her.

Mrs McLoughlin was given the award on behalf of Castleford Heritage Trust for years of dedication to the town.

She said: “I was a bit surprised, I knew they had planned something but I didn’t know what exactly. I’m still involved in the community because I want to be.

“The notice board is something that’s very much needed in Castleford and we used to have one to tell people what’s happening in the town.”

The former councillor who served the Glass Houghton ward from 1955 to 2000 was given freeman status in 2001, acted as a justice of the peace for a number of years and sat on several community and education boards.

She continues to run a luncheon club at Glass Houghton Healthy Living Centre and is president of the Heritage Trust.

Alison Drake, chairman of the trust, described her as the “first lady of Castleford” for her continuous service to the community.

She said: “We had a wonderful day for her, she’s very sprightly and is just an amazing person. She’s very much known for her wisdom. She’s very strong and much looked up to in council circles.

“She’s esteemed district-wide. She was instrumental as a councillor in getting the civic centre built and getting the library extension and new refurbishment done.

“What’s more is she’s still very active in all we do in the town. All that wisdom and experience is very much appreciated in our community.”

After the unveiling of the board last Thursday, the trust held a celebratory reception at Bridge Arts where an exhibition of Mrs McLoughlin’s life is currently on show.

It includes photographs of her as a councillor and the scroll from when she was made freeman of the district.