Death of Exmouth councillor ‘a tremendous loss to town’
PUBLISHED: 13:11 20 May 2016 | UPDATED: 13:11 20 May 2016
An Exmouth councillor, who has died suddenly, will be remembered as someone who ‘enjoyed life to the full’.
Alison Greenhalgh, who was 63, died on Sunday.
A retired teacher, she served on East Devon District Council and Exmouth Town Council, and was involved in community activities, including serving as a member of the Rotary Club of Exmouth and District, and serving as a governor at Bassetts Farm Primary School.
Her sister, Sandy MacQueen, said: “She was full of fun and good humour, and enjoyed life to the full.”
Having grown up in Surrey, Alison became a teacher and then a headteacher, in London and then in Exeter, and also an OFSTED inspector.
She married her husband, Dr Ian Greenhalgh, in 1977, and had two children, Dominic and Jemal, and three grandchildren.
She also had two sisters, Sandy, a former mayor of Exmouth, and Amber, who lives in Philadelphia, and a brother, Stuart, who lives in Wyoming, along with cousins all over the world.
She had to retire early to undergo successful treatment for leukaemia, and was then very active, travelling with her husband and enjoying her grandchildren.
She also had a passion for gardening, and it was while gardening on Sunday that she collapsed and died.
Discussing Alison’s other interests, Sandy said: “Alison was a lady of many talents. She was very artistic and painted beautiful pictures. Some were inspired by her holidays abroad – Australia and Burma being the most recent - and some from her imagination, which were very striking.
“She loved travel, be it to Lundy Island or more exotic places.
“She was a good musician and singer, and she was a scientist, so also had an analytical mind.”
As part of her work as a councillor, having been elected to the town council in 2011 and the district council in 2015, Alison chaired the flooding and land drainage working party and the Exmouth Festival working party, and was the East Devon District Council tourism champion for the area.
She was also a member of the Town Team and Tourism Forum, the Neighbourhood Plan steering group, the regeneration and general purposes committee, the finance committee, and the youth council working party.
Exmouth town clerk Lisa Bowman said: “Alison was always enthusiastically supportive of all council projects, and we at the town hall will all miss her enormously.”
Town Team and Tourism Forum chairman John Thorogood said: “Alison was someone who could always be relied upon to do her utmost for the people of our town and she was involved in a number of exciting Town Team projects that she was helping to steer.
“She demonstrated incredible leadership and imagination that she used to great effect.
“Her example was a great inspiration to many and her passing will be a tremendous loss to our team and to the people of Exmouth.”
Aside from her council work, Alison was involved in many voluntary activities.
She was an active member of the Rotary Club of Exmouth and District, and a member of the Jurassic Coast Communities Forum, as well as a volunteer for other charitable causes.
Rotary Club of Exmouth and District president Simon Wood said: “Alison had been a member of our Rotary Club for nearly two years. From the day she joined, it was apparent that she was going to be a very great asset to our club.
“She was about to take up a position as vice-president and chair of our youth committee for the coming year and was destined, in 2018, to become our first lady president in the 90-year history of the club. She will be greatly missed.”
Sandy said her sister’s approach to life was summed up by a quotation she shared: “Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.”