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Hay Corfield, The Hon Mary OBE

(14 February 1871 – 19 August 1965)

Mary came from a distinguished Scottish family. Her grandfather, Sir George Burns (1795-1890), was one of the founders of Cunard Line and her father, John Burns (1829-1901), 1st Baron Inverclyde, Bart., of Castle Wemyss, was chairman of Cunard Steamship Company.

Married twice, her first husband was the Rev. Ernest Murray Robinson, vicar of Merton (1858-1904). In 1906 she married the Rev. Canon Claude Evelyn Lacy Corfield (1857-1926) with whom she had worked in the Derbyshire mining area.

Active during the Second World War, Mary was organiser of the chief depot of the Red Cross and St. John Emergency Committee 1939 and the County of Berkshire Hospital Supply Depot which, for five years, supplied clothing, medical supplies and various comforts to the war-wounded of the army, navy, merchant navy, R.A.F. and the populations of liberated countries.

In her speech at the ceremony of her election as Alderman in April 1950, Mary said, “As the first woman Mayor in Wokingham I am anxious to give a present to Wokingham”. She then produced a reproduction in embroidery, worked by herself, of the Wokingham seal encircled by a floral leaf.

A talented writer, Mary had a number of publications to her credit, amoung them were The Loyal Heart, an anthology; Service and Perseverance the Memories of a Scotswoman; Beauty; and Claud Corfield - Chronicle of a Busy Life, a tribute to her husband.

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