Tributes have been paid to a former High Peak mayor and councillor, whose death has been described as ‘a loss for the whole community’.
Jane McGrother, 77, was a life-long Labour party member, representing both High Peak borough and Derbyshire county councils, and was also actively involved in Buxton in Bloom and the Friends of Oignies Twinning Association.
Buxton county councillor Caitlin Bisknell said: “Jane was such an incredible, remarkable woman and I doubt I’ll ever meet anyone quite like her again.
“The news of her death comes as a shock as she has always been such a positive life force - everything she did was for the greater good and she respected everyone’s opinions, even if they differed with her own.
“This is a loss not just for her husband John, her four daughters and grandchildren who I know were the apple of her eye , and not just for the Labour party, but a loss for the whole community.”
Jane, of Burlington Road, was elected as a borough councillor in 1995, representing the Buxton Central ward until 2007. She was involved with many council committees, including corporate select, regulatory, environment select, licensing and the local plan.
She served as High Peak mayor between 2000 and 2001, and previously as deputy mayor. She also sat on the county council between 1997 and 2001.
Friend and colleague, councillor Fiona Sloman, said: “She was a real inspiration and a stalwart to the Labour party, and being a fantastic gardener she was the driving force behind Buxton in Bloom so her legacy will live on as the competition continues.”
Jane was a retired former nursing teacher, specialising in rheumatology at the former Devonshire Royal Hospital. She also worked at Manchester University School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting.
A staunch supporter of local groups, she represented Buxton Volunteer Bureau, Home Improvement Agency, as well as the National Society for Clean Air and Noise Control. She was also a Derbyshire pollution advisor, a rivers liaison group member and gave her time to the Citizens Advice Bureau.
In 2001 Jane joined the Friends of Oignies Twinning Association and held the position of chairman between 2010 and 2015. Current chairman Derek Thomas said: “Jane understood twinning is about building friendships and cementing good relationships and she did everything, both with our host town in France and with our members, to make everyone feel welcome.
“If ever you had a problem and didn’t know who to turn to, Jane would be there with a smile, a listening ear and she would give you her help. She was so full of energy and enthusiasm and nothing was ever too much trouble for her.”
As well as being chair of Buxton in Bloom, Jane was active in bringing the gardens at Milnthorp Homes up to standard.
Councillor Anthony McKeown, leader of the High Peak Labour Group, said: “Jane was committed and dedicated to her community and had boundless enthusiasm, energy and commitment to everything she was involved with.
“She was a source of inspiration to many and her loss will be felt deeply by all who knew her.”
David Kerr, one of the younger borough councillors, said from the moment he first met Jane she did everything to make him feel included.
He said: “She was a mother figure who took everyone under her wing. Her house was the unofficial headquarters for the Labour party and she always made sure she asked about you the person, rather than you the councillor.
“She was the toughest woman I have ever known, full of grit and determination, and had given decades of service to fighting social injustice.
“Everyone’s deepest condolences go out to John and his family at this terribly sad time.”
Former mayor Robin Baldry said: “I’m very sad to hear of the death of Jane McGrother who has done a tremendous amount of good work for her community and her party.
“She has done a fantastic job on Buxton in Bloom and everybody, including myself, will miss her.”