Death of Marion Thorpe, wife of former North Devon MP

Marion Thorpe, pictured with husband Jeremy and Lady Arran, during a preesntation of medical equipment to the Caroline Thorpe ward at North Devon District Hospital in November 2006. Marion Thorpe, pictured with husband Jeremy and Lady Arran, during a preesntation of medical equipment to the Caroline Thorpe ward at North Devon District Hospital in November 2006.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
12:22 PM

Tributes to former concert pianist and wife of Jeremy Thorpe after her death aged 87.

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NORTH Devon politicians have paid tribute following the death of Marion Thorpe, wife of former local MP and Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe.

Mrs Thorpe died in on Thursday, aged 87, after being ill for some time. She is survived by Mr Thorpe and his son Rupert as well as three sons from her first marriage to the Earl of Harewood.

Born in Vienna, Austria, Mrs Thorpe was an accomplished concert pianist and co-founder of the Leeds International Piano Competition.

North Devon MP Nick Harvey said he was deeply saddened to learn of her passing, adding: “Both of them have been great friends and hugely supportive of me in Liberal politics over the past 25 years. Marion was the epitome of grace, elegance and charm, as well as being mischievously witty.

“Having married Jeremy in 1973 she stayed loyally by his side through thick and thin, caring for him with remarkable skill throughout his many years battling Parkinson’s Disease.

“To say that Marion had lived an interesting life would be a huge understatement: With her family, she fled the Nazis before the war and arrived here at the age of 11 barely speaking a word of English.

“Music was her great love, and in addition to becoming a concert pianist she was also joint founder of the Leeds International Piano Competition, co-author of a best-selling course of children’s piano books and a prominent supporter of the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the Aldeburgh Festival.”

Jeremy Thorpe held his North Devon seat from 1959-1979.

North Devon Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Peter Heaton-Jones, also added his sincere condolences: “My political ‘coming of age’ was during the 70s, and I well remember being gripped by the unfolding drama surrounding the then Liberal Party leader.

“Throughout it all, the figure of Marion Thorpe stands out as someone who was a constant support to her husband for more than 40 years. This is especially so in recent times as his health has sadly deteriorated.

“The Thorpes lived for many years at Cobbaton and are part of North Devon’s - and Britain’s - political history. My thoughts are with their family at this sad time.”

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