Welwyn Hatfield's community remembers Lynne Sparks

PUBLISHED: 11:02 12 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:21 13 February 2018

Mayor Lynne Sparks. Picture: supplied by Welwyn Hatfield Council

Mayor Lynne Sparks. Picture: supplied by Welwyn Hatfield Council

supplied by Welwyn Hatfield Council

Tributes have been pouring in after the tragic death of much-loved mayor and councillor Lynne Sparks.

Ian and Lynne SparksIan and Lynne Sparks

We will be updating this page regularly to add the thoughts and memories of members of the community that Lynne worked so hard to serve.

Welwyn Hatfield Council is flying its flag at half mast.

The council has opened a book of condolences which will be given to Lynne’s family.

You can sign it in the reception of the council offices in Campus East, at Hatfield Housing Office, White Lion House, or online here: www.welhat.gov.uk/condolence

Malcolm Cowan, Liberal Democrat councillor: I was totally shocked to hear the devastating news that Lynne Sparks had died. She was really the ideal of a local councillor – warm, time for everyone, inventive and ground-breaking. As mayor she was superb, both in the council chamber keeping the rest of us all in order, and out in the community representing the council and making everyone she met feel important and loved. I don’t know of anyone who had a bad word to say about her and that is very rare. Just one example, I remember watching her speak at the Bahii 200th anniversary celebration and what she said was so appropriate and moving. Our thoughts go out to her husband Ian, who has been such a great support to her, and to her children, in their grief.

Councillor Lynne SparksCouncillor Lynne Sparks

John Dean, Conservative councillor and leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council: This sad and tragic news has come as a dreadful shock to all of Lynne’s colleagues and the council. Lynne was a dedicated councillor and worked very hard for the community.

This was her second term as mayor and she will by sadly missed by the charities she was working for and the council she was so loyally representing. Her family can be very proud of Lynne and our condolences go out to them.

Justin Burgess, chairman of Just One Click Away mental health charity: We were very saddened to learn of the untimely loss of Lynne, she was a great supporter of JOCA and helped us greatly to move forward in the local community. Our condolences go to her family.

Lynne with youth councillors and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council cabinet members. Picture: supplied by Welwyn Hatfield Borough CouncilLynne with youth councillors and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council cabinet members. Picture: supplied by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

Kieran Thorpe, Labour leader at Welwyn Hatfield council: We are all shocked and saddened by Lynne’s passing and of course our thoughts and best wishes are with her family at this incredibly sad time. Lynne was a politician who made a difference and got things done. She poured her efforts into helping people, and I know this was appreciated and recognised.

Dennis Lewis, former councillor: “Say not to be sad that she died, but to be glad that she lived and walked among us.” Lynne was much loved around the borough – always cheerful and interested in the people she met. She had a highly developed sense of duty, but it never appeared to be a chore to her. Everywhere she went she always enjoyed herself, and she was so uplifting to be with. I valued my friendship with Lynne and Ian – in particular she always asked me what mischief I had been up to! As our mayor she was a woman of the people – popular and ever ready to offer a helping hand, intensely interested in her community and with seemingly limitless energy. It’s difficult to believe that we shall never see her again, but so many of us have indelible memories of Lynne, she will never be forgotten. Our thoughts turn also to her husband Ian and her family at this intensely sorrowful time.

CEO Helen Elliott and the herts young homeless team: Lynne was one of those special people who motivated those around her to do more for the community. She had great compassion and inspired people to make a difference as shown by her determination to set up Hatfield Night Shelter. Lynne was genuinely interested in herts young homeless’ work with vulnerable young people in the county and on the occasions she visited our office would want to talk to everyone, not just the CEO or service managers. She always had a smile and time for a quick chat no matter how busy she was. Her loss will be felt throughout Hertfordshire. Our thoughts are with Lynne’s family and friends at this sad time.

Mayor Lynne Sparks and councillor Patricia Mabbott.Mayor Lynne Sparks and councillor Patricia Mabbott.

CEO Joe Heeney, Resolve: I would very much like you to know what an incredible lady Lynne was. She was so supportive of Resolve and our work, not just helping raise much needed funds but raising awareness of Resolve’s work, not just supporting people with problems with alcohol and/or substance misuse, but supporting the families of addicts too. Lynne went so far above and beyond and was without question the most selfless person I have ever met. Ian her husband was the most supportive of her work and together, they were a formidable force. Lynne leaves a legacy like no other, in her deeds and the incredible work she has done over the years supporting people from all walks of life, using her position to bring about real and genuine change for those in society who are vulnerable and who so often have the least. Lynne will be so sadly missed, for what she leaves is a legacy for those who follow to aspire to. Lynne brought hope, aspiration and most of all compassion to us all. Thank you, Lynne.

Rob Bridge, chief executive of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council: We are all immensely saddened by this news and our sympathies go out to Lynne’s husband, Ian, and her children at this most difficult time. Lynne had a boundless compassion for others and was a great champion for the many issues she cared deeply about, including addiction, domestic abuse and homelessness. She displayed tireless dedication in her roles as councillor and mayor, and I know everyone who had the pleasure of meeting her would have been touched by her warm smile and caring nature. The communities she served will miss her greatly, as will we.

Grant Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield: Lynne was a true community champion and we are all devastated by her loss. Lynne actually represented everything that is best about local democracy where it genuinely works to the advantage of local residents. Lynne got on brilliantly with everyone – regardless of their politics. She quickly had not only earned the respect of the whole council, but the wider community too. And Lynne was always someone who would get things done. From helping to move forward the improvements now becoming visible in Hatfield Town Centre, to working with numerous local charities including the new Hatfield Night Shelter and of course Isabel Hospice, where she spent her last day. And I know that everyone who knew Lynne is quite simply devastated by her loss. She was someone that Welwyn Hatfield was fortunate to have both as councillor and our mayor. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. Our community will support them in the knowledge that we have all lost a true local champion who won the hearts and minds of everyone she met, with her mix of enormous empathy combined with an ability to simply get things done around here.

Lynne with her family. Picture: supplied by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. Picture: supplied by Welwyn Hatfield Borough CouncilLynne with her family. Picture: supplied by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. Picture: supplied by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

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