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Edith Richardson 1922-2019

A leading light in the foundation of the Progressive Labour Party has died.

Edith Richardson, 97, was the widow of Hugh Richardson, a former President of the Senate and the first chairman of the PLP.

The Richardson's home on Serpentine Road in Pembroke, was the meeting place for the founders of the PLP in the early 1960s.

Mr Richardson's garage was the venue for discussions among Edward DeJean, Walter Robinson, Wilfred Allen, Albert Smith, Dilton Cann and R. Austin Wilson to form Bermuda's first political party in 1963.

Ms Richardson's brother-in-law, William “Billy” Richardson, said she had served “almost as a secretary” for the party in its early days.

Mr Richardson added: “I was one of the messenger boys of the PLP, running here, there and everywhere.”

He said his mother had died before the Richardsons married in 1943, and the couple raised him.

He added: “She was a good mother, a wonderful person. I helped her to bring up her daughter, Carol, who was born around Christmas. I used to joke to her that she spoilt my Christmas dinner.”

Carol Currin said: “Mom was deceptive; she looked as though she wouldn't hurt a fly, but she was strong and just what my father needed.

“She was someone he could talk to. She would tell him the truth, exactly what she thought.”

Ms Currin said that political discussions at the family home often became “heated arguments”.

She added Ms Richardson shared her husband's political convictions, but played a quiet role at home.

Ms Currin explained: “You have to remember, she was born in 1922.

“Women in those days stayed in the background and helped — and she was top of the line at that.”

She said the PLP founders at the Richardson's home were nicknamed “the desert group” as a joke, because the lane was prone to flooding.

Ms Currin added that Mr Richardson, who died in 2007, was “the first chairman of the PLP because nobody else wanted to take the job and stand out front”.

She explained that a prominent role in the new party meant “going out on a limb”, and that Mr Richardson had cleared his decision with his wife and daughter first.

Ms Currin added that Ms Richardson also helped to encourage PLP supporters to register to vote.

She said: “She could be quiet, she was smart, and she was very much into the St Paul AME Church. Not that she wasn't feisty as well.”

Ms Richardson became a seamstress at AS Cooper & Sons and specialised in curtains.

She left the company to work with Irene Trott at Trott's Drapery.

She later worked as a hairdresser and the family ran a travel agency, Always Travel, in St George.

Ms Currin said: “She loved to travel. She didn't care how, as long as she was going somewhere. She loved to visit her cousin Blossom in Chicago.”

Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, paid tribute to Ms Richardson last week in the House of Assembly.

Mr Roban told the House: “In public service, as members of both Chambers, often their whole families serve with them and give their energy and sacrifice, Edith Richardson did the same.”

Political administrator: Edith Richardson backed her husband Hugh “Rio” Richardson''s involvement in the creation of the Progressive Labour Party (Photograph from Facebook)

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Published December 06, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated December 06, 2019 at 8:01 am)

Edith Richardson 1922-2019

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