Tributes paid following death of Whaley Bridge councillor

Derbyshire county councillor Alison Fox
Derbyshire county councillor Alison Fox

A “tremendous” and “no-nonsense” High Peak county councillor has died, aged 58.

Coun Alison Fox had represented the Whaley Bridge division in the High Peak on behalf of the Conservatives for the past two years, following her election success in May 2017.

Last week, the authority’s chairman, Coun Trevor Ainsworth, told the full council that Coun Fox was in the midst of a long battle with illness, which had seen her unable to attend meetings at County Hall.

It was also shared that Coun Fox had endeavoured to do all within her power, despite her illness, for Whaley Bridge during the Toddbrook Dam crisis in August.

Coun Barry Lewis, Conservative leader of Derbyshire County Council, shared the news of Coun Fox’s death on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.

He said that the flag on top of County Hall would be flying at half mast “as we mark the passing of our close friend and colleague”.

Cllr Fox hit the headlines in recent times for her vocal objections regarding access issues at a 107-home development in Macclesfield Road, Whaley Bridge; her vital support to obtain grant funding for community facilities in Furness Vale; and work to secure the future of Whaley’s Post Office.

During her time in office, she sought to hold the authority to account as vice chairman of its people improvement and scrutiny committee.

Her role saw her represent the communities of Whaley Bridge, Furness Vale, Horwich End, Chinley, Buxworth and Combs.

Coun Lewis said: “Alison was a real community champion with a big personality who was out to do her best for Whaley Bridge.

“At times passionate and sometimes outspoken, she had a huge heart and was a fierce and loyal friend.

“Alison was also tremendous fun and leaves a void in our group that only a personality like hers could – all of us on the Conservative Group will miss her and I personally will.

“Our sincere and heartfelt condolences are warmly extended to her family, for whom we know this will be a very difficult time.“

Mike Ashworth, the county council’s executive director for economy, transport and environment, said: “Councillor Fox was liked by officers for her no-nonsense approach and her support of county council officers’ work.

“She will be sorely missed and our sympathies go out to her family and friends.”

Coun Anne Western, Labour group leader on the county council, said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Alison Fox, county councillor for Whaley Bridge.

“On behalf of the Labour group at Derbyshire County Council I would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Alison’s family, friends and all who knew her.

“Alison was a hard-working councillor who was well-respected locally and she will be greatly missed.”

Coun Martin Thomas, chairman of Whaley Bridge Town Council, said on Facebook: “I am very sorry to report that Coun Alison Fox passed away last night (Saturday, October 12).

“Her illness was a real shock to all who knew her.

“She was a hard-working councillor who proved highly effective at getting things done. She was held in much respect by those who knew her. I send her family and friends my sincere condolences.”

Ruth George, High Peak MP, said: “I am very sorry to hear that Alison Fox, county councillor for Whaley Bridge, passed away yesterday.

“Alison was a hard-working councillor. I send my condolences to all her family at this very sad time.”

Robert Largan, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for the High Peak, said: “This is incredibly sad news.

“Alison was a larger-than-life character, who cared deeply about Whaley Bridge and was a very effective councillor for her home town.

“More than that, she was a lovely woman, full of energy and a wicked sense of humour. I will miss her.”

A by-election will be held for the Whaley Bridge division on the county council in due course.