A MUCH respected pillar of the community of Trowbridge has died leaving behind a rich legacy for the town she did so much for.

Former mayor Grace Hill, of Bradford Road, Trowbridge, died on Sunday morning, two days before her 67th birthday at the Royal United Hospital in Bath after being diagnosed with throat cancer more than a year ago.

Mrs Hill worked tirelessly for over 20 years on behalf of the town, serving as a town councillor from 1986 until earlier this year. She was chair of the town council in 1992/93 and mayor in 2004/05.

A keen advocate for improved road safety, particularly around schools and within residential estates, Mrs Hill helped many local groups including the Hope Nature Centre in Southwick Country Park and Stepping Stones in Polebarn Road, her two chosen charities during her year as mayor.

June Fleming, chairman of the Hope Nature Centre, said: "Grace was not only a friend but a wonderful person who helped us immensely. She was involved very early on before we got the centre up and running and whenever we had problems she stuck up for us.

"She even used to make pots of jam for us to sell. She was a friend to everyone here and we think the world of her. She will be sadly missed."

A serving county councillor, Mrs Hill was passionate about the communities she served, and was instrumental in establishing the Spotlight on Trowbridge summer event that lives on today.

After retiring as mayor in 2005 she said: "The town council is in a unique position to value people's skills and talents.

"It is about accepting differences and knowing that there are many ways of doing things to serve the needs of a diverse community.

"We can work towards making sure that people are given opportunities to use their skills thus enhancing Trowbridge, this town of ours."

Cllr Nick Blakemore, current mayor of Trowbridge, said: "Staff and councillors, both past and present, offer tribute on behalf of the whole town in thanks to Grace Hill for all of the work she did for Trowbridge."

Her funeral takes place on Monday at West Wiltshire Crematorium in Semington at 3pm followed by a thanksgiving service at Wesley Road Church at 3.45pm.

A thanksgiving celebration of her life is to be held on December 5 at the Trowbridge United Church, Church Street, at 2.30pm. Her husband Tom Hill has extended an invitation to anyone who wishes to attend.

Judy Seager, chairman of Wiltshire County Council, said: "Grace was a great community councillor who always had the interests of the people of Trowbridge very much at heart."

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