TRIBUTES have been paid to a dedicated councillor who spent more than 25 years representing the people of Blunsdon.

Former Swindon mayor Doreen Dart, who had been battling lung cancer, died during her sleep on Friday night while being cared for at the Great Western Hospital.

Coun Dart (Con, Blunsdon and Highworth) had been a councillor since 1986 and her colleagues in the authority said she would be missed.

Council leader Rod Bluh said: “Doreen was more than a colleague, she became a really good friend and she was always hugely supportive of me personally.

“She was always willing to do anything for anybody. She always took the time to find out about people. She was always asking how my partner was and she was just respected across the political spectrum.

“She loved her job as a councillor and was very proud to have been mayor. She carried on until the end. She went to the Swindon Town match on Tuesday and was taken to hospital on Wednesday.

“She has been on the council a long time and has become part of the fixtures. The planning committee will never be the same again.”

Coun Dart, who has a daughter called Janet, lost her husband, Norman, last year.

As well as being a long standing councillor, the retired teacher had been on the committee for the Swindon Charity Ball, held at the Marriott Hotel, since the 1980s, and helped to raise more than £600,000.

North Swindon MP and former councillor Justin Tomlinson described Coun Dart as ‘Mrs Blunsdon’.

“I had the absolute pleasure of serving with Doreen for 10 years on the council,” he said.

“And she was an unbelievably tireless community representative who racked up more meetings on behalf of the community and the council than all the other councillors put together,” .

Coun Mike Bawden (Con, Chiseldon and Lawn) said: “Doreen served the people of Swindon in a very positive style. “She had views which she was totally committed to. She served the residents of her ward to the best of her ability and was prepared to argue her corner.

“In 1996 the Conservatives were down to three councillors. Doreen, Brian Ford and myself. The Labour group used to call us the three musketeers.”

Coun Dart, who was mayor of Swindon from 1993 to 1994, was in the Adver two weeks ago, calling for a 15-minute break to be added to full council meetings after the last one went on for five hours.

Coun Brian Ford (Con, Wroughton and Wichelstowe) was elected on the same day as Coun Dart in 1986.

He said: “She was always very forthright and worked very hard for her constituents.”

Funeral details will be in the Advertser when they are announced.