Women in politics: A female political dynasty is forming that is being made in Sheffield

Midgley is the name and the one revered in the city’s political circles.

Pat Midgley was a Sheffield councilor for 33 years, who campaigned until the end of her life in March 2020.

His daughter Joanna Midgley will become deputy leader of Manchester Council next month.

The Race for Life at Don Valley Stadium. Pictured, Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Pat Midgley joins a lap of the Don Valley course

Like Pat, Joanna became a counselor in middle age.

Now 57, she says: “I can’t remember my age, my mum took years off hers but it finally caught up with her!”

Joanna grew up in the Granville Road area near Park Hill. His mother Pat was born, raised and lived all her life in the council area of ​​Manor Castle, which covers Park Hill.

A mother of two, Joanna went to primary school at Manor Lodge and Norfolk Comprehensive in Arbourthorne.

Joanna Midgley, speeding awareness campaigner

She then studied social sciences at what she calls Manchester Poly.

His mother became a councilor in 1987 and served until her death at the age of 82. Pat made the decision to run for office in his late 40s, but politics has always been a part of his life.

“She was always involved in the Labor Party, I remember we were sent leaflets for the Labor Party in the area with my brothers,” says Joanna, who has two brothers, Jamie and Neil.

“She was secretary of the local Labor group and when she decided to run as a councilor I campaigned for her.

Joanna Midgley works hard with a rake and a wheelbarrow

“She was always involved in committees, organizing trips to the seaside, fundraising, so if some couldn’t pay, they had pocket money.

“She regularly attended Victoria Methodist Church and ran the youth club.”

Behind the scenes was her husband Don, now 89, who drove his wife everywhere. Joanna says, “Mom was always working, always busy.

“Politics was something we talked about and I was always political. At Poly I was Red Jo, we were a political family.

Joanna Midgley, stressing the importance of breast screening

“As for becoming a councillor, I used to think it was a really thankless job. We were going to dinner and Mom had to answer the phone to sort out someone’s problems. It wasn’t a job I wanted to do and now I’ll be assistant manager in Manchester in December!

“I have always been involved with the Labor Party and the turning point was when we lost the election in 2010. It dawned on me that we were up against decades of Conservative rule so I got involved locally.

“Before I knew it, I was asked to run as a councillor. My mom was delighted. »

It was in 2012 when she was elected union councilor for Chorlton Park.

She is now a member of the health and care executive. Perhaps his daughters Hattie, 20, and Lucy, 16, will continue the dynasty.

They are all still thinking of Sheffield. “I love it and always wanted to come back, but I couldn’t find the right job.

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Pat Midgley, during his sponsored night in the haunted castle of Sheffield Manor for charity…in the background is the statue of Mary Queen of Scots who was imprisoned there.

“I was offered a job in Manchester Council’s homeless department and then trained as a teacher, which I did for 20 years.

“I come to see my dad every weekend and I loved living in both cities. What I love about Sheffield is that it’s so friendly. I went to Bramall Lane recently and the first thing the program salesman called me was Flower. I miss that.

“I like Manchester and Sheffield because both are vibrant and diverse cities with proud and radical histories. Manchester could benefit from more relish Henderson availability though.

When it comes to football, Jo’s Twitter profile indicates a Sheffield United supporter… character building. Brother Jamie is an owl, so the Midgley house was divided. Dad Don worked on the turnstiles at both courts, which gave the kids a choice. “I chose the Blades because Tony Currie was in his prime,” says Joanna.

So what about this political dynasty? “She’s a middle-aged woman!” I never really sat down and thought about it. Mom was a huge influence on me and I quickly became deputy chief.

“Our boss quit in May, the deputy got the vacancy and I wondered if I could do the job as deputy.

“I thought ‘what would mum say?’ She would say yes, you can do it! She had a huge influence on the decisions I made.

“The thing about her politics was that she was an actress, always on the move. A visit to her house exhausts me. She was always at a meeting, inviting people over to the house, people were just coming.

Pat was born in Park Hill Lane before the flats were built and spent her 11+ years going to high school.

“She always remembered a time when she was asked to read a poem to her class,” says Joanna. “She was ridiculed for her accent. It gave her a sense of injustice and she became a champion of comprehensive education.

“I was offered a scholarship for the secondary school for girls. She disagreed with private sector education but left the decision up to me. I decided not to go.

“She lived by her principles.”

Pat was Lord Mayor, Magistrate and Head of School for over 50 years. She also received a Women of Sheffield award in 2019, organized by The Star.

And there’s a road named after him in Park Hill. Joanna said: “She was passionate about the improvements to Park Hill and would have been so happy, if completely in disbelief, to know there was a road named after her in the heart of the new complex and to see the final phases come to life. “

Pat was housing chairman in the 1990s and led Park Hill’s application for English Heritage Grade II listed building status, responding at the time to criticism from a skeptical public about the benefits of such a move. This decision led to the regeneration of Park Hill.

She was due to retire in May 2020 to relax and spend more time caring for her husband of 60 years. But she caught coronavirus and was the first serving politician in the UK known to have died from it.

Paying tribute to her mother at the time, Jo said: “She was and always will be my heroine.

“A wonderful, caring, selfless and generous person, able to make everyone feel immediately welcome and loved – usually with endless cups of tea, cakes, scones and sandwiches!

“She was committed and dedicated to her family and friends and always tried to keep people together and connected.

“She loved getting together – and could throw an impromptu buffet in record time – and it’s hard to imagine one without her.”

Her tribute added: “Mom was a fearsome and tenacious fighter for social justice. She introduced me and my brothers to politics at an early age and her values ​​shaped mine.

“I am so grateful to him despite the endless hours of leafing through that I had to do when I was a child!

“Until March 17 she was working hard as usual as a local councilor representing the people of the Manor Castle area.

“At the age of 82, his continued energy and dedication to improving the lives of others was truly inspiring. His weekly schedule often left me tired!

“She had planned to retire in May to relax and spend more time looking after dad, but sadly that didn’t happen.

“They would have been married for 61 years in June and had such a loving and strong bond. Dad will be lost without her. Mom was also an amazing nannan to Hattie, Lucy, Theo, Jude and Madeleine whom she adored.

“We are all heartbroken, not only because we lost the pivot of our family, but because of the way his illness and death came about.

“In typical Pat Midgley style, she was fiery all the way despite being very weak. She knew what she was thinking and what she wanted.

“She refused morphine because she wanted to keep fighting.”

Just before he died, Pat told Joanna about his sister Rebecca. Unfortunately, Rebecca was stillborn in 1967, something her mother said very little about until the end of her life at Northern General. The doctors had told Pat she wouldn’t live so she started telling Joanna about Rebecca.

“Our family never talked about it. People didn’t. But mum told me that Rebecca was full term and she wanted her to have a proper burial. We had her name put on Mom’s gravestone.

This recognition of stillborn babies was something Pat had campaigned for. “It was a very important issue for mum and one that she fought for in the 1980s.”

She remained politically right to the end, insisting on voting for Keir Starmer in the Labor leadership election despite her hospitalization.

“Mum said she had something to say and I thought it was a terrible family secret. Turns out she hadn’t voted for Keir and wouldn’t forgive herself if she I got his voting ID and we did.

She had campaigned until the end, on the streets just hours before Boris Johnson announced the over-70s would have to stay indoors on March 16.

“If the lockdown had come sooner, she would still be with us.

“She wanted to improve people’s lives, it came from her background, her education, the fight against poverty. I feel the same.”

Joanna Midgley in front of a covid vaccination center
Joanna Midgley and mom Pat
Joanna Midgley and mom Pat
Winifred Gales Prize for Politics. Winners Pat Midgley, June Griffiths and Sara Hill. The Star Women of Sheffield Awards 2019. The Star launched the awards to celebrate women who have made a difference to others in the city. Photo: Chris Etchells
Unveiling of Pat Midgley Lane as part of Park Hill Flats Regeneration Scheme Earl Terry Fox talks about his friend and colleague Pat Midgley
Pat Midgley, when she ran as a Labor candidate at Nether Edge in 1986
Joanna Midgley after being elected Deputy Leader of Manchester Council
Joanna Midgley and mom Pat
Joanna Midgley after being elected Deputy Leader of Manchester Council