Portsmouth Mudlarker who campaigned for city memorial is named in New Year's Honours

A WOMAN who has dedicated her years to documenting the untold history of Portsmouth has been listed in the New Year’s Honours.

Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 10:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st December 2020, 9:24 am

Margaret Foster, 68, grew up as one of the city’s famous mudlarks – youngsters who would sing, dance and perform in the mudflats of The Hard, while onlookers threw them change.

Having worked tirelessly to get a memorial installed in their honour, and for supporting the current generation of Portsmouth youngsters, Margaret has now been honoured for services to young people in Portsea and to the Portsmouth Mudlarks.

Margaret, who will receive a British Empire Medal, said: ‘When the letter came through I honestly couldn’t believe it – at first I wondered if I was being scammed.

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Margaret Foster, community campaigner for the Portsmouth Mudlarks. Picture: Sarah Standing (180711-4283)

‘I haven’t been allowed to tell my family yet, I imagine they will be as shocked as I was.

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‘There are so many people doing wonderful things in Portsmouth, so this is a tremendous honour.’

The Mudlarks Memorial, which was completed in 2018 with a final plaque, means the names of the city’s mudlarkers will live on, even if the pastime itself has been consigned to history.

Margaret says the statue is a ‘hue' part of the city’s previously untold history.

‘Even today I still see people taking photos with the statue, and often talk to visitors about it,’ she said.

‘People are fascinated by this old tradition, and from small beginnings I never imagined I would end up where I am today.’

Margaret previously spent 12 years as a city councillor, representing residents in the Charles Dickens ward.

In her spare time, she writes books on the city’s history and gives talks about Portsmouth’s past.

But this year, with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Margaret has also turned her attention to other ventures.

‘I’ve been trying to help local good causes in any way I can,’ she said.

‘I’ve donated money to Tall Ships and to The Deaf Centre, as well as King Richard School for the children making face masks. A lot of great things have happened in Portsmouth this year, despite the pandemic.

‘I have enjoyed every minute of my journey, and I have to thank Portsmouth City Council for their role in getting the statue completed.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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