FLAGS are flying at half-mast at Ebley Mill following the death of Linda Townley.

The dedicated town and district councillor and charity worker died on Tuesday aged 52 after a period of illness.

Linda was elected to Stroud District Council in May 2002 and joined Stroud Town Council the following year, serving the Uplands ward alongside her husband Chas.

At the same time she worked as a senior co-ordinator for the family support organisation Home-Start - a charity which sends out volunteers offering friendship and practical support to people finding it difficult to cope.

Those paying tribute to Linda include the leader of SDC, Frances Roden.

"It was with profound sadness and shock that I heard the news of Linda's death following her illness," she said.

"Linda undertook her responsibilities as a councillor with great commitment, and her contributions at the council will be missed. "My thoughts go out to her husband Chas and her family at this very sad time."

Stroud mayor Andy Read said news of Linda’s death had come as a huge shock to many people.

"I only heard she was unwell a week ago," he said.

"My immediate thoughts are with her family.

"As a councillor, Linda was involved in some of the big issues, including the bus station, the maternity hospital and local planning but more often or not she was involved in helping individual people.

"She was a great listener and she did a lot of work on behalf of some of the poorer and older people in the community.

"A lot of people owe a great deal to the help she has given over the years."

Linda began her political career as a Labour councillor but opted to become an Independent member as a result of her strongly held beliefs on a series of issues, particularly the war in Iraq.

"She was open minded and she had strong principles," said Andy.

"Linda and Chas would come at things from different view points and did not always vote the same way."

Deputy mayor of Stroud Councillor John Marjoram said Linda was a person of great integrity.

"I knew her very well and worked with her in the town," he said.

"She was such a diligent, hardworking and caring councillor.

"She was a real fighter for the under privileged and her integrity was incredible.

"She will be seriously missed by the town and district council."

Father Barry Coker, until recently the chairman of Home-Start in Stroud and Dursley, said it was only a month ago that Linda had been speaking at the charity’s annual meeting.

"She was very caring and concerned for the well being and health of the local community and her role at Home-Start was the ideal job for her because it tapped into her natural abilities and concerns.

"Linda had overall responsibility for the day to day running of Home-Start locally.

"She was involved in training volunteers, placing them with families, supervising them and keeping in touch with them.

"She was very enthusiastic, very hard working and very committed.

"She will be a hard act to replace."

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