Moving tributes have been paid to former Banbury town mayor and councillor Ann Bonner, who has died following a short illness.
Mrs Bonner was mayor of the town from 2008-2009 and welcomed the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to Banbury on their visit to open the Leonard Cheshire Care Home on Warwick Road. She died at Katharine House Hospice on Monday at the age of 62.
Born in Banbury, Mrs Bonner was educated at St Leonard’s School in Grimsbury before heading to Banbury School in Ruskin Road.
After leaving school she started work at Barclays Bank and worked in the town’s financial community for 25 years, most notably for Bibby Financial Services.
She married her husband Derek in 1972 at St Mary’s Church on Horse Fair and they had a son called James and two grandchildren.
Mr Bonner said:“When the Queen visited it was such a fantastic day for us all and a real highlight. Ann was Banbury through and through, she would always have time for everybody and whenever she said she would get something done, she would. She had a lovely smile and lived her life for the town. She cared a lot about the people who lived here.”
Away from the council, Mrs Bonner was a member of Banbury Cross Players, volunteered as a guide at Broughton Castle and raised money for Frank Wise School and the Samaritans. She also had a keen interest for history and antiques.
Kieron Mallon, leader of Banbury Town Council, worked with Mrs Bonner and was also a friend. He said: “It was with deep sadness we heard of the death of councillor Ann Bonner.
“Ann was a stalwart defender of Banbury and had served the people of Grimsbury and Castle on all tiers of local government with a fierce passion.
“ She was a tireless worker for her constituents and the area she lived and grew up in. Ann’s style was summed up by her school’s motto, “manners maketh man” and whilst she was passionate about many things she always put her point over with style, dignity and a sense of humour.
“She will be missed by her fellow councillors and officers alike. The council chamber will be all the poorer for the loss of her presence.
“Ann served as Mayor of Banbury during the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Banbury and her pride and patriotism was evident to all who remember that happy day.”
Former Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry also paid tribute to Mrs Bonner, and added: “Ann was one of the most generous hearted people that I knew.
“She was totally committed to the wellbeing of those whom she represented in Banbury and Grimsbury and was an outstanding mayor of Banbury and no-one could have been a better Mayor and First Citizen when the Queen made her official visit to Banbury.
“It was a privilege to work with Ann over many years.”