Tributes are paid to town and district councillor from Bicester

Bicester Town and Cherwell District councillor Jolanta Lis, who passed away on April 13, 2018. NNL-180417-120649001
Bicester Town and Cherwell District councillor Jolanta Lis, who passed away on April 13, 2018. NNL-180417-120649001

A ‘devoted’ and ‘passionate’ town and district councillor died suddenly on Friday last week.

Jolanta Lis was a serving councillor for Cherwell District Council’s Bicester West ward and Bicester Town Council’s Central ward and was also CDC’s vice-chairman. The former Bicester mayor also held voluntary positions on local organisations.

Yvonne Rees, CDC chief executive, said: “It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Jolanta Lis; a lady who was truly dedicated to the community in which she lived and passionate about the issues facing Bicester and Cherwell as a whole. Although she was only elected to the district council two years ago, she had already been bestowed the honour of our vice-chairman which is reflective of the respect she had gained amongst her peers for her devotion to the local area.”

Flags are being flown at half-mast at Bodicote House and a book of condolence can be signed at Bicester Town Council’s offices at Garth Park, between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Thursday, and until 4pm on Friday, until the day after councillor Lis’ funeral, details of which are to be confirmed. A minute’s silence will be held at CDC’s annual council meeting on May 15 and at the elections count on May 4 at Spiceball Leisure Centre.

Councillor Lis was a candidate in the May 3 local elections, but the election for the Bicester West ward of CDC will be postponed until June 21. A by-election for Cllr Lis’ seat on Bicester Town Council will also take place.

Barry Wood, the Conservative leader for CDC, said: “Nothing can convey the feelings of loss at the sudden passing of such a staunch councillor, kind-hearted person and wonderful friend. Jolanta dedicated so much of her life to Bicester and actively worked to make life the best it could be for residents through her work in local government and community organisations.

“Everything she did, she did for others; no thanks were sought or praise required. No amount of words could do justice to the work she has done over the years but the devastation that is being felt by all who knew her is a true testament to the fantastic lady she was and the hole she has left behind.”

She was also a governor at Bardwell School and a member of the Oxfordshire Schools Forum and Bicester Children’s Centres Advisory Board.

She also held a trustee position for Citizens Advice Bicester, was a member of the Bicester and District Twinning Association and an assistant district governor at Rotary through her membership of Bicester Rotary Club.

Sean Woodcock, leader of the Labour group at Cherwell District Council, said: “I was very sad to hear of the death of Councillor Lis. She was well-respected across the chamber for her kindness and sincerity towards whoever she interacted with. Her contributions at the council and in committee were always thoughtful and considered. She was very passionate about this area and its residents. My thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”

Cllr Les Sibley, leader of the Independent group at CDC, said: “Our condolences and prayers to the family, friends and colleagues at the sad passing of former Bicester town mayor, Cllr Jolanta Lis. She was a hard working local councillor and representative who proved to be a great ambassador during her term of office as mayor of Bicester and vice-chairman of Cherwell District Council. Jolanta will be sorely missed by all of those who knew her.”

Letters are currently being sent to all households in the Bicester West ward to notify them of the change to the election date.

All other scheduled elections for Cherwell District Council will continue on May 3 as planned.

Maurice Billington, chairman of Cherwell District Council, said: “Cllr Lis was one of the nicest people I had ever met and was highly thought of at the council and within the community. From a personal perspective, she was incredibly helpful and supportive in my role as chairman and I had been looking forward to passing the chains over to her. We had formed a close relationship over the years and I really will miss her terribly.”