FORMER Mayoress Mary Edwards - renowned for standing for hours with a collection tin in her hand and a winning smile on her face to raise cash for charities - has died suddenly in hospital, aged 90.
She was also famous for designing a tie at the family factory to commemorate the engagement of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
The beloved wife of ex-Tytherington councillor and Mayor Norman Edwards, suffered a stroke following a hip operation and passed away in intensive care at Macclesfield Hospital last Thursday with her lifetime partner by her side. And that's how they will always be remembered - together.
Norman, 77, of Badger Road, Tytherington, who was married to Mary for more than 50 years, said: "She was a very caring person and would help anyone who needed it. She was always very supportive of roles I went into. But she had her own opinions too."
During his mayoral year, Norman carried out around 380 engagements, mostly with Mary by his side. He said: "She loved every minute of being mayoress and really played her part."
Niece Jen Kellett added: "She was a quiet person but very dignified with a great sense of humour. She was always supportive and pleased to see you. Mary was like a second mother to me."
Norman and Mary, originally from Leek, constantly thought of others. When they celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary last year, instead of gifts they asked guests to donate to East Cheshire Hospice. Mary also worked as a volunteer in the Cancer Research shop every week and would help with MacMillan collections.
Norman added: "It was a cause close to her heart. She would always manage to get more in her tin than anyone else and would stand for hours. I asked how she did it and she said 'I look them in the eye and smile'. Mary always had a smile."
The couple wed at a small register office in Leek, Staffordshire, in 1956 after meeting in Rushton Spencer. Mary was managing her brother-in-law's grocers and bakers store, where Norman used to buy his cigarettes.
He set up a tie manufacturing company for Mary and, from 1964, they created ties for companies and schools, while Norman continued to work in wood treatment at Bosley. They moved to Tytherington in 1969 and, when business grew, Norman joined the firm.
He said proudly: "Mary was one of the best machinists in town at the time and would oversee the whole project."
In the early 1980s they were asked to manufacture a tie for the 'Think British' campaign, and also to commemorate the engagement of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. They sold the business in 1988.
In retirement, Mary enjoyed being a member of Inner Wheel, gardening and going on holiday to Jersey.
Norman said: "Our appreciation must go to the Intensive Care Unit at Macclesfield Hospital for the care given to Mary, myself and her other visitors."
The funeral is taking place on Thursday, June 7. There will be a private cremation followed by a service of thanksgiving at St Michael's Church, Market Place, Macclesfield, at 12.30pm.
Norman has asked for donations to the ICU fund at Macclesfield Hospital and Arthritis Research.