FORMER Lord Mayor of Oxford Beryl Keen served as a city councillor for 20 years and volunteered for numerous community groups, organisations and charities.

She was born Beryl Playford in Norwich on September 24, 1934, and she and her husband Bryan attended the same school from 1939 to December 1949.

Beryl worked in the Tom Smith Cracker Factory from January 1950 until December 1961.

She and Bryan went on their first date in June 1953, at Norwich Speedway while Bryan was home on a 48-hour weekend pass from National Service in the RAF.

The couple got engaged in August 1954, before Bryan went back to serve in Singapore.

They married in November 1957, at first living with Beryl’s parents, then moved into a council flat in Catton, Norwich in March 1958.

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Mr and Mrs Keen moved into a bungalow in Norwich in September 1961 before the birth of daughter Mandy in February 1962, and son Martin in December 1965.

Mrs Keen left work in December 1961 to look after her children, she then became a full-time housewife.

She joined the Labour Party in January 1971 and in 1973 attended her first Labour Party Women’s Conference.

Between 1974 and 1977 Mrs Keen stood as a labour candidate for Broadland District Council.

In 1973 the couple joined the Arthritis for Research Branch in Great Yarmouth and later joined the Oxford Arthritis research Branch after moving to Oxford.

In January 1979 Bryan started work for the Oxford City Labour Party as its Labour Party Agent.

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In March Mr and Mrs Keen, along with Mandy and Martin, moved into their house at Liddell Road, Cowley, where she lived until she moved into a care home in November.

As soon as she arrived in Oxford in 1979, Mrs Keen quickly got involved in the Oxford Labour Party.

She joined the Cowley Branch Labour Party and the Cowley Labour Party Women’s Section, and very soon became its secretary.

Between March 1979 and March 1986, Mrs Keen worked in the Labour Party at local and national level, standing as a Labour Party candidate in the Iffley Ward twice, once losing by 10 votes.

Oxford Mail:

In May 1986 Mrs Keen was elected to Oxford City Council for the Iffley Ward and the Cowley Ward from 2000 to 2006 when she stood down after serving 20 years on Oxford City Council.

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During her time on the council she served on the Recreation and Amenities Committee and was its chairwoman for a three-year period. She was elected Lord Mayor of Oxford in 1996, Deputy Lord Mayor in 1998 and Sheriff of Oxford in 1999 and during a six-year period she wore every Chain of Office. Outside the council chamber she was a founder member and trustee of the Rose Hill and Donnington Advice Centre, a School Governor at Rose Hill Junior School, and a trustee of the Elder Stubbs Charity. She suffered a stroke in 2011. After a period of ill health she died on January 27, aged 85.

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She leaves her husband, her son and daughter and two grandchildren. The funeral will be held at Oxford Crematorium on Thursday, at 10.30am for family and friends, followed by a service at St James’ Church, Beauchamp Lane, Cowley, at 11.30am.