A single white rose was placed where she normally sat as Melton councillors paid emotional tribute to colleague Val Manderson at their meeting last night (Thursday) following her death from breast cancer.
The flag at the council’s Parkside offices was flown at half-mast in tribute to Mrs Manderson, who was described as ‘a very special lady’.
After a minute’s silence was observed during the full council meeting, the Mayor, Councillor David Wright, told fellow members and officials: “I want to extend my heartfelt sympathies to Valerie’s family.
“She was a true friend who had a deep sincerity for everything she did for the council.”
Council leader, Councillor Pam Posnett, told the meeting Mrs Manderson had been a good friend since they first met more than 20 years ago.
She said: “Valerie was always a very private person. She was not very vocal unless she was upset about something. Then she spoke in a very direct way which I admired her for.”
Councillor Posnett added: “Valerie was extremely proud of both of her daughters.
“She will be missed, not just by us, but by many other people in the town.
“She loved her meetings with elderly residents at Mayfield Street, in particular.”
Councillor Alan Pearson revealed that Mrs Manderson had some chemotherapy treatments at the same time as his own wife.
He said: “Her first question was always ‘how are you?’. Val was always concerned about other people rather than herself. She was a very special lady.”
Councillor Malise Graham paid tribute to the work Mrs Manderson did for the Rainbows Hospice and during elections with fellow Conservative candidates.
“Valerie was the sort of councillor we should all aspire to be,” Councillor Graham told the meeting.
“She was incredibly courteous and fun and so courageous in her battle with cancer.
“We were so lucky to have her as a colleague.”
Mrs Manderson, who represented Melton Sysonby Ward, passed away on Monday at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Her funeral is at St Andrew’s Church in Rippingale, Lincolnshire, on Monday March 13 at 2.30pm. Family flowers only are being requested with donations to be made to the church.