Over the last few days we have learned with great sadness of the death of both Andy Samson, Executive Director of Children’s Services, and ex-Mayor (and Liberal Democrat Councillor) Margaret Thompson.
Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Andrew De Freitas said: “Andy was a fine man who was hugely passionate about children’s services. He personally led a remarkable improvement in children’s services in just over two years. He will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of working with him.”
On the Grimsby Evening Telegraph website there were many tributes to Andy and they included comments from both present work colleagues, and from Oldham were he worked as a Deputy Director of Children’s Services. There were also comments from: Maggie Atkinson; President, Association of Directors of Children’s Services; Phil Woolas MP (Oldham), who said “His former colleagues are very sad and we all send our regards. He was hugely admired and when he left we knew he was our loss and your gain. There are many children whose lives were improved by his work. Andy family should be very proud indeed.”
There were many other comments but one last one is worth mentioning, it was signed a ‘Looked after Child, Grimsby’: “Andy was a great bloke. He was dedicated to his work, he was doing a lot for me to try and make my dreams of becoming a care officer come true. He was a well respected bloke and he will be missed, he was a strong, kind caring bloke and wanted to make our lives as good as possible……… my regards to his family.”
Shortly following the death of Andy it was announced about the tragic loss of Margaret, she was mayor of North East Lincolnshire in 2006, and passed away after a short illness in hospital surrounded by loved ones. She was 77.
Tributes from colleagues and friends were made in the hours following her passing. Son, Brian Thompson (52) said on behalf of the family: “She was a wonderful mum. She did so much for the area, and will be sorely missed by so many people.”
Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council Councillor Andrew De Freitas said: “I knew Margaret for 44 years, after I joined the Liberal Democrats. At the time she was a treasurer for the Grimsby branch of the party.
“Among her many achievements, she was the longest surviving special constable – being in the role for 35 years.
“She also was a Councillor for the Park ward with myself and Councillor Daniel Khan.
“Margaret also spent many years in the scouting movement, and raised a lot of money for causes including Cancer Research. Her service to the community was second to none.
“As a person, Margaret, quite frankly, was a rock. You could always rely on her.”
The current Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Councillor Colin Eastwell said: “It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Margaret. She was a valued colleague as a councillor with a dry sense of humour, and gave a lifetime’s commitment to the community and people.”
She leaves behind her son Brian, and daughter Joy, as well as three grandchildren: Vickie, James and Richard.