TRIBUTES have been paid to the wife of the founder of the Octagon Theatre, who also owned her own business in St Andrews Court.

Margaret Jean Pemberton-Billing, who died on October 30 in West Sussex, was well-known in Bolton for running the popular Trade Winds shop selling Chinese art goods.

The 90-year-old was wife of the late Robin and loving mother of Mark, Noel, Chris and Jason as well as a much-loved grandmother and great-grandmother.

Mark said: “The family moved to Bolton in 1967 with my dad and four boys.

“My father was teacher and lecturer at Loughborough and one the students was from Bolton said there was no theatre in town.

“So then he came up to Bolton with the student to set it up.

“My mother was very creative and ran her own shop.

“She also grew Kyoto Bonsai and opened up a nursery which sold the trees at Trade Winds and other shops and garden centres.

“She sold the shop and it was relocated in Knutsford and I have heard it is now the biggest bonsai supplier in the UK.”

Mark added that ‘Maggie’ had lots of happy memories in Bolton.

“She really came into her own in the area and was a very strong family person and was devoted to my father, especially helping at the Octagon and did a lot of different things.

“She trained as a teacher and loved to do painting, potting as well as some arts and crafts.

“She was very glamorous and attended all of the dos at the Octagon.”

Among the other happy family memories include driving trips to Europe on holiday.

Mark said: “The first one I remember was going to France, Switzerland and Italy and I think we ended up in Venice.

“We also went to Spain and never flew anywhere and must have been to the continent four or five times.”

Mark added that Margaret played a role in the history of Bolton.

“Bolton in the 1960s was very much working class and the Octagon allowed more people to go to the theatre.”

Mark said that they have had lots of messages and support since the sad news of her death.

“She was 90 and a lot of the people she knew in the early days have passed away but many remember her presence at the Octagon.”

There is a small family funeral taking place at Brighton Crematorium today.

Any donations should be made to the Alzheimer’s Society at