Tributes have been paid to a "gentle and generous" former council leader who served the people of South Derbyshire for many years.

Ann Hood, who served as chairman of South Derbyshire District Council in 2008-2009 and 2013-2014, died peacefully at Cedar Tree Care Home in Derby on Sunday, October 15.

A well-loved Conservative councillor, the 75-year-old has been remembered by others for her selflessness and ability to put the needs of others first.

Councillor Bob Wheeler, leader of the district council, said: "We all have very fond memories of Ann. She was kind, gentle and generous, always thinking of others rather than herself.

"There was not a hint of malice in her. I never heard her speak ill of anyone nor anyone else speak ill of her. The loss of Ann will be deeply felt by friends and colleagues far beyond South Derbyshire."

Ann was born in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. She and her husband Frank moved around the country with their respective jobs before settling in South Derbyshire in 1977.

The former nursery nurse represented Willington and Findern on the District Council from 2003 to 2015 where she took great pride in championing local people and groups.

Husband Frank, 80, said he would remember Ann for "lots of little things," particularly "how much time she had for people."

He told the Burton Mail: "I was married to Ann for 47 years and although we weren’t blessed with children, she doted on her nieces and nephews and always said she wished she had six blond boys. I think our Labradors became her children and we loved to take them on walks together.

"Being a councillor was a huge part of her life but it didn't start that way. Her passion grew and she engaged and got involved with it. She loved the locals she represented and was very proactive. She took her duty very seriously and executed it with conviction but that does not mean she was a serious person."

Ann had been ill for some time and after being diagnosed with dementia three years ago, she deteriorated after being diagnosed with leukaemia.

Frank said: "She had to be put into respite to be stabilised. It took hold of her more quickly than I imagined. Although I knew Ann was poorly and this was coming it still came as a massive shock and it hurts."

Councillor Kevin Richards, leader of the opposition group at the council, said: "Ann was a very gentle and kind lady and was very passionate about all of her duties. It was a privilege to have worked with her over the years."

Frank McArdle, chief executive of the council, also paid tribute, saying: "Ann was a model councillor and a considerate and compassionate person. This is a sad loss."

When elected to the council in 2003 Councillor Hood said that becoming a councillor was 'something that just happened', when she was at a community meeting and became impatient when nobody else put their names forward.

When voted into the post again, Councillor Hood told the Burton Mail she was privileged to take on the role.

She said at the time: "You get to meet people and see places that you would not see in normal everyday life. It is really interesting. I am hoping that we can continue to keep South Derbyshire as happy a place as it is now."

Ann's funeral service will be held from 2.15pm on Tuesday, November 7 at All Saints Church, Findern, followed by committal at Bretby Crematorium.

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