POPULAR former councillor Anne Baxter was a woman who devoted her life to fighting for the underdog, according to her family.

The family and friends of the former Liberal Democrat councillor for Eastcott were left shellshocked after her death on Saturday following a stroke.

The 79-year-old was taken to the Great Western Hospital but she died at around 10pm.

Her widower, Ken, 79, said: “She had had part of her lung removed last year because it had cancerous nodes, but she was recovering.

“It came straight out of the blue.”

Anne, a mother of three, grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of two, first became a councillor in 1998 shortly after retiring from her work as a radiographer.

Ken said: “She always had to be busy, she didn’t like sitting around doing nothing.

“She started volunteering and then Stan Pajak asked her to run as a candidate for Eastcott.

Her daughter, Helen, 54, said: “I think she had always been a caring sort of person and she liked to fight for the underdog if she thought there was an injustice. She wasn’t afraid to speak up either.”

Anne was an admired member of the Liberal Democrat party, and once ran for mayor, missing out by one vote.

Stan Pajak, the leader of the Liberal Democrat party in Swindon, said: “She had all the attributes you would want from your councillor.

“She was a wonderful woman who really cared about her community and one of those people who were bound to become councillors at some stage in her life.

“Anne was such a campaigner for everything and was really devoted to her community in which she lived.”

Ken said: “Even after she finished as a councillor she would get calls from people about things. And she was still a member of the planning committee and the mental health forum.”

Anne was a keen sportswoman who met her husband at the badminton club at the Old Headlandians Association.

She also enjoyed playing golf at the Ogbourne Downs Golf Club, where she was captain in 1985.

She was devoted to her family. Helen said: “She was always a homemaker. “She was always there, whether it was looking after the grandchildren and making them cakes or helping in the community. “She was just there for everyone.”