One of Morecambe’s leading hoteliers during the resort’s heyday has died, aged 81.
Kathleen Prada bought the Mayfair hotel on the seafront with her husband, Licio, in 1962.
She became an enthusiastic and influential ambassador for the town and developed it into a highly successful business, while at the same time playing an increasingly important role in the Morecambe tourism industry.
The couple championed Morecambe tirelessly and hosted at the hotel a string of visiting celebrities including Norman Wisdom, Guy Mitchell, Tommy Cooper, Alvin Stardust, Derek Batey, Showaddywaddy, The Sweet and members of the Yorkshire cricket team.
They sponsored the Miss Great Britain bathing beauty contest for many years and gave similar help to local organisations. Licio served as a local councillor and Kathleen was Deputy Mayoress of Morecambe in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She followed Licio, who was chairman of the Morecambe and Heysham Licensed Victuallers’ Association between 1964 and 1966, by becoming the organisation’s first female chairman, from 1981 to 1983.
Following Licio’s death in 1977, Kathleen ran the hotel with her son, Tony, for a further seven years before deciding to convert the property and re-open as the Mayfair Residential Home for the Elderly. She retired in 1998 and Tony and her daughter Licia continue to run the business.
Born in Derby, Kathleen had a number of jobs before eventually trying her luck in London where at one time she worked for Sir Edmund Hillary, of Everest fame.
It was in London that she met Licio and they married after a whirlwind romance.
Their’s was an exceptional partnership that saw the Mayfair prosper with innovative initiatives, such as fine European dining, a first for the area. It was with typical bravura that they invited actress Pat Phoenix (Elsie Tanner) to open two new bars within the hotel.
She leaves son Antonio, daughter Licia and grandchildren Niall, Ella, Declan and Tia. Requiem Mass at St Mary’s Church, Morecambe, today, Tuesday, is followed by committal at Lancaster and Morecambe Crematorium.