Former Lancaster Royal Grammar School pupil Lord Cecil Parkinson dies at 84

Lord Cecil Parkinson.
Lord Cecil Parkinson.

Former Conservative minister and ex-Lancaster Royal Grammar School pupil Lord Cecil Parkinson has died at the age of 84 after a battle with cancer.

As party chairman under Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s, Lord Parkinson – who was born in Carnforth – played a key role in the Tories’ 1983 general election victory.

He quit the cabinet soon after after it emerged his former secretary Sara Keays was carrying his child.

He returned to the government in 1987 serving as energy and transport secretaries.

LRGS head Chris Pyle tweeted: “Sorry to hear of the death of Lord Parkinson of Carnforth – a long-standing friend of the school.”

The LRGS Old Lancastrian Club also tweeted: “We are really sorry to hear that Cecil Parkinson OL has died today.”

A family spokesman said: “Cecil passed away on January 22 after a long battle with cancer.

“We shall miss him enormously. As a family, we should like to pay tribute to him as a beloved husband to Ann and brother to Norma, and a supportive and loving father to Mary, Emma and Joanna and grandfather to their children.

“We also salute his extraordinary commitment to British public life as a member of parliament, cabinet minister and peer – together with a distinguished career in business.”

Cecil Edward Parkinson, the son of a railway worker, was born on September 1 1931. He won a scholarship to Lancaster Royal Grammar School and moved on from there to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he won his blue for athletics.

He also ran for a combined Oxford and Cambridge team against American universities.

Lord Parkinson was responsible for managing the 1983 Conservative Party election campaign, which delivered Thatcher the majority she used to push through controversial reforms.

He was rewarded with the post of secretary of state for trade and industry – but resigned later that year after it emerged his former secretary, Sara Keays, was pregnant with his child.

He later served as secretary of state for energy, and for transport, leaving office at the same time as Thatcher in 1990 and was made a peer two years later.

He briefly made a comeback as Conservative Party chairman after the Tories’ general election hammering in 1997.

Lord Parkinson retired from the Upper House last September.

The family spokesman said: “There will be a private family funeral. The family requests that their privacy be respected in this matter. Details about a memorial service will be announced later.”