Family and friends of popular Westbury councillor Linda Conley have spoken of their shock after she lost her battle with cancer.
Cllr Conley, who lived in Fairwood Road, Dilton Marsh, with husband Captain Dan Conley, died at the Royal United Hospital in Bath on Monday. She was diagnosed last year and had been having chemotherapy.
The couple had one daughter, Faith, 30. She and her father were with her when she died.
Capt Conley, 67, a retired Royal Navy submarine commander, said: “It was a big shock to everyone as she was undergoing chemotherapy and everything seemed positive.
"We had just come back from a lovely holiday in Muscat with Faith and her husband. It came as a real body blow to us all, but it was tremendous that we were able to have that time together as a family before she died. We have had hordes of tributes as she was incredibly popular.
“She is a great loss to her local communities, both for her dedicated service and also her wonderful humour, energy and sense of fun.”
The Conservative councillor was first elected to West Wiltshire District Council in 2003, representing the village and Dilton Marsh. More recently she was Wiltshire councillor for Winsley, Westwood, Limpley Stoke and Wingfield and in May she was elected as councillor for Ethandune.
She spent 10 years in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, which was where she met her husband. She was also governor of the Ladies Naval Charitable Trust.
She served as cabinet member for waste and recycling and she took the role of portfolio holder for waste when she was elected as a county councillor in 2009.
Leader Jane Scott said: “She was a good friend and a great councillor to work with. She gave a huge amount of her time and passion to Wiltshire and its residents. She will be very sadly missed.
“It was not unusual for her to be out on the refuse lorries and that was one of her greatest skills and strengths as a councillor, she was always happy to speak to people out in the street.
“Councillors like that are difficult to replace and I will miss her greatly as a friend and as a person to work with.”
Cllr David Jenkins, who sat on with her on the Westbury Area Board, said: “Linda was a great character, with a lovely personality.”
Cllr Graham Payne said: “Linda was always a bright and bubbly person who took on life’s difficulties in an upbeat attitude and this reflected in the brave and positive way she battled her illness.”