By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
A former Nottinghamshire county councillor was described by colleagues as “a real one-off” and “second-to-none” as tributes poured in during the first full council meeting following her death.
The death of Councillor Maureen Dobson (Ind) was confirmed by her family on December 1, following a battle with cancer.
The councillor, who represented Collingham on both Nottinghamshire County Council and Newark and Sherwood District Council, was a longstanding politician who was first elected to office in 1978.
She sat on the district council at various points between then and 2021 and was elected onto the county council in 2013 – staying in the role until her death.
Alongside her work in politics, she was also a trustee of Headway Lincolnshire, Newark Community First Aid, and St Leonards Hospital Trust, and was a supporter of the Trent Vale Trail.
Members of Nottinghamshire County Council paid tribute to Cllr Dobson during Thursday’s meeting (January 20) – the first time the full council had met since her death.
The Collingham politician most recently sat on the authority’s personnel and transport and environment committees, to which chief executive Anthony May praised her “significant contribution to the work of the council”.
And speaking in the meeting on Thursday (January 20), Councillor Ben Bradley MP (Con), leader of the council, led the tributes.
He said: “She was impossible to ignore and quite rightly, because she regularly demanded to be involved in more things and to have more engagement with the administration.
“She was willing to accept and give praise when it was due and we all saw that fairness when she came to full council.
“Her being missing from the chamber today leaves a hole and we will miss her quick wit, her often constructive comments, and I will miss her savage put-downs.
“Her presence and contributions to this chamber will be missed.”
Cllr Kate Foale, leader of the Labour group, also paid tribute and said: “Hearing of Maureen’s passing was one of the saddest days in my time as a councillor.
“It has been really hard for me to find the right words to describe her outstanding contribution to the work of this council, and her unparalleled commitment has already been recognised.
“Maureen was a thoroughly committed public servant, a truly independent, highly-principled councillor and her dedication as a serving councillor was nothing less than extraordinary.
“She was a real one-off.”
And Cllr Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), leader of the Independent Alliance, added: “She was a unique and strong character in this chamber and was fiercely independent.
“She would often bring this chamber to a halt trying to bring us together when we were busy fighting in political ways, and she would cut through that with no messing about.
“Her tenacity to get things done for the residents of Collingham is second-to-none.”
Both councils have confirmed a by-election will take place on February 17 to fill the seats vacated by Cllr Dobson’s passing.
Collingham residents have until February 1 to register to vote if they are not already on the electoral register.