MEMBERS of the Thurrock Conservative group have paid tribute to Labour councillor, Diana Hale, who passed away on Thursday.
Conservative leader Cllr Phil Anderson said: “I was saddened to hear the news of Cllr Diana Hale’s passing after a courageous battle with cancer. Diana was one of the real characters of Thurrock politics: strong and principled in her views; always up for a political argument; but equally willing to work together across political boundaries in the interests of local people.
“Her dedication and commitment will be a great loss to the Council and to Thurrock. On behalf of the Conservative Group I offer our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends at this difficult time.”
Homesteads Councillor James Halden served with Councillor Hale as Vice-Chairman of Children’s Services Committee, which Diana chaired for the last 18 months.
Councillor Halden said: “I grew to like and respect Diana. Regardless of politics, no-one can doubt her passion, genuineness and dedication to public service. Towards the end of Diana’s life, she was not always able to come to the offices for meetings, so she frequently invited myself and officers to her home because she was so determined to continue the work she cared about on the committee. It says a lot about Diana that no matter how ill she was, she would continue to work, and would insist on making tea and coffee for her visiting colleagues”.
Recalling a visit they made together to High House Production Park, Councillor Halden said, “We were there to both work on the education summit, after which we had a tour of the backstage centre. We were taken to the top to see a floor made of mesh wire that technical staff could walk on and use for productions. While I was quite happy on solid ground, Councillor Hale coaxed me out onto the meshing by telling me that she would make sure every member of my group knew I was too scared to follow the Labour Councillor and stand above the massive drop. Sufficed to say I did! I am glad that I got to know her during the time we worked together.
“I pay tribute to a lifetime of selfless work for others; I will miss Diana and offer my prayers and condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time”.