HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to Judy Onslow, the East Hampshire district councillor for Greatham, Hawkley and Liss Forest who died last week after a brave battle against cancer.
District council leader Ferris Cowper described her loss as “incalculable”.
And East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds said: “Judy was, over many years, an exceptionally dedicated public servant, through her council work and wider community involvement. In the Conservative Party she was a great organiser, and as a ward councillor a great colleague and team player. She is going to be greatly missed.”
Mr Cowper said: “Judy was a much-loved councillor, very much doing things her own way which was, in a world of overused cliches, truly inimitable. People were at the heart of her life and at the heart of her philosophy as a councillor. If I were to choose one councillor to represent me it would be Judy. Determined, forthright and outspoken when necessary, and then suddenly softer, gentler and understanding. This was a woman with a vast array of talents.
“She used those talents very effectively indeed on our district council and her ability was recognised as soon as she was elected in 1999. She held a number of important roles, including being cabinet member for the environment and chairman of the council. She was pivotal in our efforts to make the council more efficient, particularly in the area of waste collection and recycling.
“Judy was a loyal and devoted member of the Conservative Party who served not only her own community but others as well, going out of her way to campaign for colleagues in other wards. Her loss is incalculable.”
Keith Budden, chairman of Liss Parish Council, said: “Judy was one of the key influencers who got me involved in parish council life many years ago, and was always someone I could confide in when there were village matters to be discussed, so on a personal level I feel sad on her passing and will miss her deeply.
“Judy put an incredible amount of time and effort into her council work, and while I didn’t always agree with her, I was never in any doubt that she spoke not out of self-interest but of the interest of residents. She leaves a massive void to fill.”
Peter Cregeen, chairman of Hawkley Parish Council, added: “Judy was a popular and responsive councillor. She was always a loyal supporter of Hawkley and helped us with a great many projects over the years. We were always pleased to see her at our meetings and her lively contributions will be very much missed.”
Mrs Onslow, 70, had represented the ward for the Conservatives since 1999 and had held it in every subsequent election with ever-increasing majorities.
Born in Norwich, Norfolk, she was the first of three children born to Frederick, an accountant, and Joan Utting and she is survived by her brothers Nick and Richard. She raised three children, Oliver, Hannah and Rachael, as well as maintaining various jobs and involving herself in numerous activities, including The Pony Club. She was devoted to her grandchildren, Tabitha, Isabelle, Caspar, and Matilda.
In 1987, Judy married David Onslow and the family moved to Hampshire, throwing themselves into community life and both becoming district councillors. She approached her role in the same way she approached her friends and her life – enthusiastic, supportive, hardworking and unafraid to champion causes. She was a great supporter of Greatham Senior Citizens.
The funeral is due to be held at St Peter’s Church, Petersfield, today to be followed by a private cremation. There were to be family flowers only but donations to the Rosemary Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support Midhurst are welcome.