TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular councillor after she lost her battle with cancer.
Councillor Cath Hill, independent representative for the Seaton Carew ward, died at home at 12.05am yesterday, surrounded by her loving family.
The mum of one and grandmother of two – described by those who knew her as a “fighter” – managed to beat the disease about eight years
ago and went into remission, but she became ill again last summer.
The 76-year-old, a councillor for about 15 years, spent her final days with her family from Hartlepool, and others who had travelled from as far away as New York and Ireland to be by her side.
Today, tributes poured in from those who had worked with Coun Hill over the years, including her friend and fellow Seaton councillor Paul Thompson.
Coun Thompson held back tears as he said: “Hartlepool is a better town for having Cath as a councillor for many years, and her passing is going to be a great loss.
“I have the absolute utmost respect for her.
“She has been a great mentor to me in the short time I have been a councillor.
“I owe a great deal to her and, aside from the politics, I’m proud to say that Cath Hill was a very dear friend.
“She was a fighter, and she’s been certain to fight off this illness before and get into complete remission.
“She put up a hell of a fight this time as well, and she’s at peace now, thankfully.”
Former Mayor of Hartlepool Stuart Drummond told the Mail: “I am very saddened to hear the news about Cath. I know she has been poorly for some time now.
“I saw her just before Christmas, and it’s fair to say she hadn’t lost any of her fighting spirit. I don’t think her death was entirely unexpected, but it’s still come as a shock.
“To me, she was an extremely loyal person, she was a good friend, and she was on my cabinet from day one right until my last day.
“She was hugely valued and was extremely passionate, especially about children and young people.
“She was never backwards in coming forwards and would never shirk any responsibilities or any decisions.”
Tory group leader Ray Martin-Wells added: “I am saddened by Coun Hill’s passing, and I want to pay tribute, on behalf of the Conservative group, to her work with children’s services over the years.”
Geoff Lilley, independent councillor for the Fens and Rossmere ward, described Coun Hill as a “tireless worker for the youth of the town”.
He said: “She devoted her life to ensuring that young people get the best start possible.
“I’ve been in meetings where she’s taken the world on. I have always valued her advice, and she always gave good advice.
“She will be a great loss to the town and to the people of Hartlepool. My thoughts go out to her family.”
Tributes also poured in on Coun Hill’s Facebook page, with one mourner describing her as a “saviour and confidante to many children over the years”.
Another described her as a “true legend”.
To leave your tribute to Coun Hill, go to our website, www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk