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Beth Graham was born at the Folly, in Settle, on October 7, 1926.

Her grandfather and his brother, descendants of Scottish borderers, were skilled cabinetmakers and joiners and had been drafted in to the town when the Folly was in danger of falling down. As part of the deal the family were given rooms in the Grade 1 listed building and Miss Graham and her younger sister, the late Claire Brooks, were both born there. The family also leased and refurbished the, then crumbling, Victoria Hall, turning it into a cinema. Later the family was to open another cinema in Settle before ending up with a chain of nine in small towns and villages.

Born into a family of stoic Liberals, Miss Graham and her sister were to follow in politics. After attending Settle High and then Skipton High Schools, Miss Graham went off to London University and joined the Liberal Club. In 1950 she was sent off to stand for Parliament in Faversham, Kent, a town she had never even visited. She was given a lesson in tough national politics and lost her deposit. She went on to become a Liberal Party agent in Leeds and then Bradford. She was to fight three more Parliamentary elections, all in virtually impossible seats.

By 1973, Beth had become more interested in local issues and joined North Yorkshire County Council. She has been there ever since, also serving on Craven District Council and Settle Town Council. In 2013 she was given the freedom of Craven and the title of Honorary Alderwoman, a title bestowed on special former members of the council with at least 15 years continuous service. Former councillor Beth Graham was a Liberal Democrat member of both Craven District Council and North Yorkshire County Council until she retired in around 2004. She remained a member of Settle Town Council until 2010.

She was chairman of the North Craven Building Preservation Trust for 12 years with playwright Alan Bennet as president. As well as fighting to save the Settle-Carlisle line from closure, she rallied against plans to stop Settle Festival and the removal of the fair from the market place to Ashfield Car Park, suggesting those who complained should be issued with earplugs. In 2009 she also threatened to boycott town council meetings in Settle after getting stuck in the lift; having to be released by new councillor Dan Balsamini.

A full report with tributes from former colleagues and friends will be published in Thursday's Craven Herald, along with details of the funeral service.

LP input:

Beth was a hard-working Councillor at all levels of local government. She was always there when people needed help, regardless of their political persuasion, and worked wonders for Settle and the surrounding area. She had a sharp wit, could make her point clearly and succinctly, and took no prisoners in the Council chamber. Her grasp of national politics was another of Beth's strong points. She ran several General Election campaigns, particularly for Skipton when her sister, Claire Brooks, was candidate, from 1974 onwards. The two sisters working together produced exciting times for Liberal/ Liberal Democrat members and activists as well as having a great impact on the electorate, despite Skipton being a strong Conservative constituency. Beth's influence on politics at all levels should never be underestimated.