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Obituary: Lady Margaret Legg dedicated herself to public and charitable work after retiring from law

PUBLISHED: 15:01 12 April 2013 | UPDATED: 15:01 12 April 2013

Lady Margaret Legg, who died last Wednesday

Lady Margaret Legg, who died last Wednesday

Archant

Lady Margaret Legg, of Back Lane, Hampstead, died on Wednesday April 3, aged 77. Her husband Sir Thomas Legg and five children, Paul Ray, Simon Ray, Emma Leigh-Bennett, Henry Ray and Oliver Ray, pay tribute to her life.

Maggie Legg was a truly remarkable woman, with a strong character, a larger-than-life personality and an outstanding zest for life. Vibrant and active, she combined high courage and resilience with kindness and generosity to others and great integrity. At her core, she was a believing Christian who acted out the values of her faith. With this, she had an active curiosity and a warm and wry sense of humour.

Born Margaret Wakelin Saint in 1935, she came from a legal family. Her father was a solicitor and she and both her sisters followed him into the same profession. She was brought up in Chingford and later moved to Enfield. Although close to her sisters, she always showed her own special style. For her 21st birthday, she asked for the adventurous present of a BSA Bantam 125 motorbike.

During her life, Maggie triumphed over many daunting challenges to bring off the double feat of raising five fine children at the same time as having a successful legal career, ending as a partner in Eversheds, a major City firm.

After nearly 50 years in practice, she retired from the law and thereafter dedicated herself to public and charitable work. She was active in the NHS, latterly as chairman of the Tavistock and Portman Trust, the mental health trust in Swiss Cottage; as a trustee of a charity for alcoholics in Haringey; chairing mental health panels; and not least as a trustee of the Burgh House and Hampstead Museum. In all these roles, Maggie remained energetic, committed and decisive.

Always outgoing, she had the gift of making and keeping friendships with people of every kind. Though unfailingly modest and polite, her forceful personality lit up any room when she came in. Without advertising it, she spent much time helping all sorts of people in all sorts of ways. Maggie touched hearts and minds wherever she went.

She is already mourned and missed by many friends, especially in Hampstead, where she had lived for over 30 years.

Maggie loved sport and was a keen sportswoman. As a girl, she sailed with her family. She played tennis actively most of her life, went skiing regularly and ardently followed cricket, football and racing.

She also had many other interests and activities: architecture, music and the arts, theatre and exhibitions and, above all, travel. She was an intrepid traveller, typically to exotic and often risky places, like the Caucasus, Ethiopia, and Iran, as well as more ‘normal’ places like China, Egypt, Turkey and Dubai.

A strong sense of duty guided her in all she did and made her a leading example for her children and all her circle. At the same time, she loved life and threw herself into it in every way and at every opportunity.

She gave her five children and six grandchildren the full measure of love and devotion, in her own inimitable style. She had a special knack of crossing the borders between the generations. Although she remained firm in her view of the importance of high standards in education and behaviour, she was loved as well as respected by all of her family.

At a late stage in her life, Maggie found true and deep happiness at last, as did he, with her husband Sir Thomas Legg, whom she married at the Temple Church in 2009. Cruel disease and death have deprived her of the years of contentment which otherwise lay before them. But the richness of her life and achievements, and the uniquely special flavour of her personality, will always live in the hearts of those who knew and loved her.


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