A FORMER chairman of Knutsford Urban District Council whose social conscience led her to become active in local politics has died at the age of 97.

Lady Hilary Glidewell served for two terms on the UDC and twice stood as a Parliamentary candidate.

She and her husband Iain lived in Knutsford for almost 40 years, and Hilary died on November 24, on her 97th birthday.

Born at the start of the Roaring 20s, Hilary Winant spent her childhood crossing the Atlantic with her English mother, American father and two sisters, alternating between country life in Surrey and New York high society on the Upper East Side.

Knutsford Guardian:

Hilary’s American Winant family were at the forefront of US politics, and when she joined the WRNS in the Second World War her uncle John G Winant was American Ambassador to the UK.

In her memoir, A Liberal Life Well-Travelled, compiled at the age of 95, Hilary tells how she witnessed post-war hardship while working for the Daily Telegraph in Manchester.

Her strong social conscience then prompted her to enter local politics as a Liberal councillor.

She was elected to Knutsford Urban District Council as a Liberal in 1965, and was re-elected to the council four years later as an independent, being elected chairman of the council in 1973.

In 1974 she stood as a Liberal candidate for the Nantwich constituency in the February and October General Elections, and although not elected continued to serve local communities in the north west.

Knutsford Guardian:

In her memoir Hilary said: “I had wanted to go into politics ever since I’d been in the WRNS during the war. I’d always been interested in the way people were treated.

“I felt that the Liberals were the party who were going to make the changes that would help all classes of society.

“I was influenced by the conditions that I saw in Manchester when I worked for the Telegraph.

“I first stood for Knutsford Urban District Council in 1965 as a Liberal. The town was split up into different election wards and my ward included all the council housing and a new estate, part of the ‘Manchester overspill’.

“People were moved out of Manchester into these new properties; however, they experienced social problems because they’d been transplanted 20 miles away from where they’d originally lived. I had to help them settle in.

“I also had to deal with children who’d been separated from their parents and were now in care. Another problem was hospital referrals. Patients had been taken into hospital, but there was a concern about them coping once they were sent home.

“I became actively involved with the Save the Cottage Hospital in Knutsford campaign, which allowed patients a period of recuperation after treatment in hospital before going home.”

Hilary was married to Iain Glidewell, a barrister and judge, with the couple moving to Stable Cottage in Knutsford following their marriage in 1950.

They moved to Leycester Road in 1954 and Legh Road six years later, before making their home in Henbury in 1989 and Kent in 2014.

Hilary’s husband died in 2016, and the couple had three children, Penny, Hugh and Alie.