Tributes paid to former deputy mayor
PUBLISHED: 09:55 30 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:55 30 July 2013
A popular councillor will be remembered for her integrity and generosity of spirit say her friends.
Councillors have paid tribute to Exmouth’s former deputy mayor Jean Mitchell, who died from pancreatic cancer following a short illness, aged 78.
Born on September 28, 1934, in Kidbrooke, London, she met her husband Malcolm when she was working as a librarian at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment near Harwell, and he was as a computer programmer nearby.
They frequently travelled on the same bus - but because the area was so muddy, they had to change into wellies.
He said: “Jean always said we met when she tripped over my wellington boots!”
They married in 1961, and in the 1970s moved to Exmouth and brought up their two daughters, Trisha and Sue, with Jean working at Bicton College.
They were both elected to the new town council in 1996 – Jean’s parents had been Liberal councillors in Greenwich.
Councillor Trevor Cope said: “She will be remembered by us as a friend, and as someone who worked tirelessly for the council and the Liberal movement in general. She could be relied on for honesty and as someone who always worked hard for her ward.”
In 1997 she became chairman of the Festival Working Party and mayor John Humphreys said: “For many, her lasting legacy will be the tremendous work she did in establishing the Exmouth Festival.”
In 2005 she became deputy mayor alongside her friend Eileen Wragg.
Cllr Wragg said: “She was always scrupulously fair and concerned with equality and justice. She lived her life as a caring person with deeply held Christian beliefs, and always practised what she preached.”
It was thanks to Jean that a stage was built in the Manor Gardens and that Exmouth became Devon’s first Fairtrade town.
Peter Brain, Exmouth’s Fairtrade secretary, said: “Her knowledge of local people, businesses and organisations was an immense help to the cause, and her personal determination to challenge unfair trading practice was second to none.”
Jean worked tirelessly up until she was diagnosed at Easter, in voluntary roles including as a governor of Bassett’s Farm Primary School.
Cllr Wragg added: “Both she and Malcolm have been what can be best described as ‘good’ people, in every sense of the word, always kind and concerned for the welfare of others. Jean will be very much missed and it will be impossible to replace her.”
A service will be held at the Holy Trinity Church, from noon on Monday, July 22.