Tributes and shock after news of Melton councillor’s sudden death

Val Manderson who is standing for election in the Melton Sysonby ward EMN-170220-130443001
Val Manderson who is standing for election in the Melton Sysonby ward EMN-170220-130443001

Tributes have poured in for popular Melton councillor Val Manderson who lost her battle with breast cancer on Monday morning.

She continued to deal with council work but her condition deteriorated quickly after she was admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Mrs Manderson, who was 65, was the mother of two daughters, Fiona and Laura.

Fiona said: “The reaction from people has been fantastic - people have been calling and texting since they heard.

“It’s quite comforting for Laura and I that so many people liked and respected mum.”

Mrs Manderson was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago and she has had ongoing treatment since then.

Her condition worsened considerably in the last month.

Fiona said: “She continued to work when she felt well enough.

“When we checked her phone she had recent emails from constituents which she was dealing with.

“Mum’s council work was so important to her.”

Born in Rippingale in Lincolnshire, Mrs Manderson used to work for the Raymond Mays BRM motor racing team.

She married Duncan and the couple moved to Melton in 1989 when he was posted to a local RAF base. They divorced 15 years ago.

Conservative Mrs Manderson was serving her third term after winning one of the three seats for Melton Sysonby Ward in May 2015 with 913 votes.

Fiona added: “Mum loved helping people in Melton, she always said it was such a great community.

“She made so many friends you couldn’t walk down the street with her without her meeting someone she knew.”

Melton Council leader, Councillor Pam Posnett said: “Valerie was a valuable and respected member of Melton Borough Council.

“She will be missed for the advice and support she gave to other councillors.

“And, personally, my memories of Valerie are very fond.

“We both won our first election together representing Newport Ward.”

Melton and Rutland MP Sir Alan Duncan said: “Valerie was just fabulous – always cheerful, fantastically hard-working, and universally popular.”

Mrs Manderson served as chairman and vice-president for the Rutland and Melton Conservative Association.

It’s chair, Mary Anne Donovan, said: “Her loyalty and commitment and the warm support and encouragement she gave to everyone in the association, and to the community as a whole, was remarkable. Valerie will be truly missed.”