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Tributes to 'selfless' Chester fundraiser Margaret McKeegan, who has died aged 82

Mrs McKeegan carried the Olympic Torch through Chester in 2012 and dedicated years of her life to fundraising

Margaret McKeegan has died after a battle with cancer

An 'inspirational' Chester grandmother who dedicated her life to raising money for wounded soldiers died this week following a battle with cancer.

Margaret McKeegan MBE, 82, of Francis Street, Newtown , was specially chosen to carry the Olympic Torch through Chester in 2012 because of her steadfast commitment to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, for whom she would regularly fundraise and send goodwill boxes to.

Every week Margaret spent her own money on putting together the luxury boxes to 'cheer up' the soldiers, who she affectionately called 'my lads', after being inspired to help them following the death of her grandson Private Luke Simpson who was killed in Iraq in 2007.

She had already spent decades organising events to raise money for blood pressure monitors, cardiac rehab units, disabled people and various charities around the Chester area.

Her selflessness won her many local accolades, including Chester's Person of the Year at the 2010 Chronicle-Scottish Power Your Champions awards and the BEM award for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Margaret McKeegan posts her 1000th supplies parcel to the army serving in Afghanistan from Brook Street Post Office, Chester.

Margaret's daughter Stephanie told The Chronicle that her mum had been diagnosed with lung cancer on her 82nd birthday in April, and since then had made it her mission to plan all the arrangements for her funeral.

She paid tribute to her mum, calling her 'the most inspirational and selfless lady you could ever meet.'.

Related : Margaret McKeegan nominated to carry Olympic Torch

"Over the last few weeks she had been going downhill because of the illness, every day got worse for her and towards the end she could barely speak," she said. "On her birthday when doctors told her she had cancer, she took it all on the chin and was up making everyone cups of tea even though she had tumours the size of oranges in her lymph nodes and lungs.

"It was awful to see that happening to someone as amazing as my mum.

"She was adamant she didn't want to go into hospital, she wanted to be at home throughout, which she was. She spent ages making instructions for her funeral, and wanted everything in place," added Stephanie.

Margaret with former Chronicle Editor in Chief Eric Langton at the 2010 Your Champions Awards

"My mum was the most inspirational, selfless lady with the most beautiful heart. We are absolutely devastated. "

And Stephanie said one of Margaret's proudest moments was running with the Olympic Torch four years ago, even though she was awaiting surgery on her knee at the time.

Related : Chester fundraiser appeals for shoebox donations

"She was in agony when she did that but there was no way she was going to miss it - that was just her. I am in total awe of her, she had a hard life but was the most hardworking woman you'd ever meet. She loved everybody and everybody loved her. We will miss her so much."

Margaret is survived by her daughters Elaine, Jackie, Vicky, Stephanie, Alexis and Michelle and her 20 grandchildren.

The date for her funeral will be decided in the next few days.

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