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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
City remembers schoolgirl Mowlam
Mo Mowlam
The ex-MP was praised for her "inspiration"
The people of Coventry have paid tribute to the late Mo Mowlam, who was head girl at the city's Coundon Court comprehensive school.

The former Northern Ireland Secretary, who has died aged 55, was educated at the school during the 1960s.

Her head teacher, David Kershaw, said she was driven by wanting to extend opportunities for all groups of people, irrespective of race or privilege.

Ms Mowlam was given the freedom of the city six years ago.

John Mutton, leader of the Labour group on Coventry City Council, said: "The freedom of the city is not something we give out lightly in Coventry but the work she did, particularly in Northern Ireland, we felt, more than justified it.

Mo was warm and outspoken and these characteristics endeared her to people of all political persuasions
Geoffrey Robinson MP

"She was held in a lot of esteem, unlike most politicians, because of the warmth and compassion that always came out from her. The warmth just shone out of her. People couldn't fail to like her."

Mr Mutton said the local authority would meet to discuss plans to make an "appropriate tribute" to Ms Mowlam but said her legacy would live on because of the trust and affection she inspired. Her mother Tina continued to live in Coventry until her death in 1999.

In March this year Ms Mowlam was in Coventry as a special guest for the launch of the Women's Festival.

Coventry North-East MP Bob Ainsworth said Ms Mowlam was an inspiration to everyone she met.

He said she could have been destined for a further top job in government.

Coventry North-West MP Geoffrey Robinson said: "Mo Mowlam's straight talking and easy-going nature made her one of Labour's most popular faces.

"Mo was warm and outspoken and these characteristics endeared her to people of all political persuasions, and made her one of the UK's most charismatic and popular political figures."



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