Margaret Simey began in earnest to write this book around 1995, and completed what she was able to write in her ninety-eighth year. It is her last publication, produced posthumously, as she passed away on 27 July 2004. True to her unconventional form, her son Iliff hired a Mersey ferry to cast her ashes and flowers downstream, in a community celebration – not a funeral – of a long and eventful life, with a Caribbean steel band and African-style spontaneous tributes.
The work undertaken to put this last book together is certainly a story itself within the larger story of the book. Although I have worked as a finishing editor with Margaret over the last two years, gradually pulling together all the loose ends, there are two other contributors to the editing and research who deserve full acknowledgement, since without their earlier work it is doubtful that the book would have been completed in anything like its present form.
First, Catherine Hawkes worked as researcher and editor for Margaret, helping to trace the early history of Frederic D'Aeth, including meeting his daughter-in-law, Dorothy D'Aeth, who has since passed away, and her daughter, Elizabeth Bolton. Catherine was partly supported in her many hours of research and collaboration with Margaret by grants kindly given by the University of Liverpool Research Development Fund, the University Settlement Council, the Liverpool Council for Social Service, the Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust, the P. H. Holt Charitable Trust and the Lipman Charitable Trust.
The second editor, whose voluntary contribution helped to bolster the detail on D'Aeth's years at the Liverpool Council for Voluntary Aid, is Edward Murphy OBE, current director of Liverpool Network for Change and, given his previous role as chief executive of Liverpool Council of Social Service (originally the LCVA), one of the few people who can count themselves as inheritors of D'Aeth's original role. Acknowledgements need to be given to the considerable time he spent providing a fuller political context for D'Aeth. In addition, the work undertaken by Mandy Maloney, assistant director of Liverpool Network for Change, in reformatting the manuscript has proved invaluable.
For my part, in rounding up some of the details of D'Aeth's life, I am grateful to the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Liverpool University for their financial contribution to ensure the book was completed…