Sidmouth hotelier Frances Meek dies aged 100

Frances Meek celebrating her 100th birthday with her sons Christopher and Melvyn and daughter June.

Frances Meek celebrating her 100th birthday with her sons Christopher and Melvyn and daughter June. Ref shs 49 19TI 5497. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Frances MacLennan Meek, who ran the Marlborough Hotel in Sidmouth for 37 years with her husband, Douglas, has died aged 100 at Seaton Nursing Home.

She passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 14.

Mrs Meek, known as GG by her great-grandchildren, was a prominent figure in the community for many years while running the Marlborough Hotel.

During the summer, the hotel employed 40 local people, and Mrs Meek acknowledged that good staff were central to its success.

She and her husband saw an opportunity to encourage tourism by putting tables outside the Marlborough – something now standard practice for many establishments – so that people could enjoy the sea views.

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As part of a local council initiative to improve the town’s visitor facilities, the couple were instrumental in opening the Jacob’s Ladder beach kiosk which remains in the family to this day, run by son Christopher.

She celebrated her 100th birthday at the home last year with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as other family and friends.

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Her children, June Marlow-Turner, Christopher Meek and Melvyn Meek, said: “Her warmth, generosity, humour, and listening ear will be missed by all.

“She was a hotelier through and through, with a friendly and welcoming nature.

“At home she would pride herself on serving lovely food for friends and family, whilst always dedicated and attentive to customers at the hotel.

“She was very committed to Sidmouth and conscious of its reputation as a town that welcomed visitors.

“Good old-fashioned courtesy and great service were the foundation for a very successful business, which our parents were extremely proud of.”

Frances Meek was born in Glasgow in December 1919 and met Douglas while he was working on the Queen of Scots Pullman rail service between London King’s Cross and Glasgow Queens Street.

They married in September 1939, just as World War Two broke out, and spent the first five years of their marriage apart while he fought in the Western Desert with the Third Royal Tank Regiment.

She worked as a supervisor in the office of the Rolls Royce factory in Glasgow, which produced Merlin engines for Spitfire fighter planes.

The couple settled in Sidmouth after the war and brought up their family there.

Douglas died in 2005 and Frances continued living there with her extended family close by.

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