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Tributes paid to council’s first female chairman

PUBLISHED: 09:23 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:29 12 January 2018

The opening of the Waveney Sports and Leisure Centre in July 1981co-incided with Daphne Mellor's term of office as chairman of Waveney District Council. Never a stickler for formality, she promptly went behind the bar to pull the first pint. Photo: Archant archive.

The opening of the Waveney Sports and Leisure Centre in July 1981co-incided with Daphne Mellor's term of office as chairman of Waveney District Council. Never a stickler for formality, she promptly went behind the bar to pull the first pint. Photo: Archant archive.

Tributes have been paid to the “strong and principled” first female chairman of Waveney District Council.

Daphne Mellor touring London Road North as it is opened as a pedestrian street in September 1982. Photo Archant archive. Daphne Mellor touring London Road North as it is opened as a pedestrian street in September 1982. Photo Archant archive.

Daphne Mellor died surrounded by family at Hethersett Hall, in Norwich, on December 29.

Mrs Mellor, who was 86 when she passed away, represented the Lowestoft ward of Carlton between 1976 and 1985.

Her historic appointment to the role of chairman took place in 1981 – a role she served with distinction for two years.

A council spokesman said: “We were saddened to learn of the passing of Daphne Mellor, a former Waveney councillor and the district’s first ever female chairman.

“Her family told the council Mrs Mellor spoke very fondly of her time with Waveney and that being a district councillor was one of the happiest periods of her life.”

Hayley Mellor, 28, remembers her grandmother as a “very proud and confident woman with a good sense of humour.”

She said: “I didn’t realise how much she had done until we found some scrapbooks recently.

“She always said her time as chairman was the best time of her life.

Miss Mellor added: “She was a very loved woman.”

During her time as chairman, Mrs Mellor was known for her active and hands on approach – attributes which extended to all aspects of her life.

Her son Shane Mellor recalls it would not matter what the party line was, his mother would always do what she thought was right for the town.

He said: “She was a very formidable woman.

“I remember she canvassed for chairman while in a wheelchair because she had broken her foot.

“She liked to be proactive and make a difference and was very much a lady of principle who could not be bullied.

“She was proud to do that job and make a difference to the lives of people in Lowestoft.

“It was a role she really loved and she did a fantastic job.”

He added: “As a businesswoman she was very astute and as a mother very caring.

“If I could pack just half as much into my life as she did I would be a very proud man.”

A funeral service will be held at St. Mary’s Church, Attleborough on Thursday, January 18th at noon, followed by committal at St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Bunwell.

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