Mrs Mary Magrath

STALWART: Popular landlady Mary Magrath.
STALWART: Popular landlady Mary Magrath.

TRIBUTES have been paid to popular landlady Mary Magrath, who has died aged 58.

Mary and her husband, Alan, ran the Golden Fleece in Birkenshaw for 13 years, taking the former working men’s club and transforming it into a popular venue for both regulars and family functions.

Mary was born in Huddersfield and grew up in Dewsbury, Hanging Heaton, and later lived in Ravensthorpe.

She took a part-time job as a barmaid in the Butcher’s Arms, Staincliffe, where she met Alan and the pair were married two years later.

The early taste of pub life shaped the couple’s future, as they decided to try their hand at running their own public house, and they were given a 20 month tenancy at the Woolpack, in Guiseley.

From their first premises, the couple discovered a love for the pub business and in 1985 they took over the New Inn, Heckmondwike, which they ran for seven years.

“We both took to the pub trade straight away. Mary loved being at the New Inn because she loved the catering side of things,” Alan said.

“We were doing 400 lunches per week and she absolutely loved working with food. She enjoyed seeing people empty their plates.”

In 1992, Mary and Alan took over the Golden Fleece, where they were to become stalwarts in the village for 13 years.

After leaving the pub in 2005, Mary was given the news that she had developed chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

She underwent chemotherapy, which led to five years in remission, during which time Mary bought a sandwich shop in Thornhill.

She then opened a small cafe in Heckmondwike town centre with her friend, M and M’s Cafe, until she left in 2009.

Alan and Mary celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in September, but Mary was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.

She is survied by Alan, her son Simon, step-daughter Joanne, grandchildren Luke, Sam, Jack, Joe and Daisy and great-grandson Oliver.

Her funeral took place yesterday.