Tributes have been pouring in for Cllr Anne Court, a former mayor of Basingstoke and a long-serving councillor for Kempshott.

Described as a dedicated public servant, loved ones said Cllr Court 'always carried a torch for the community'. 

Cllr Court was mayor of Basingstoke and Deane from 2015 to 2016. Her theme for the Mayoral year was community involvement and she enjoyed meeting residents of all ages and members of local organisations.

Her mayor’s charity appeal supported Inspero, Basingstoke Multicultural Forum and Ark Cancer Centre Charity. 

Cabinet member for the environment and climate change for the borough council from 2008 to 2009, Cllr Court was later chair of the development control committee.

In recent years, she suffered ill health, but after a short break was re-elected in 2018 as ward councillor for Kempshott.

She was first elected to the borough council in 1995 after spending much of her adult life volunteering and getting involved in the local community. 

Basingstoke Gazette: Cllr Anne Court, pictured, served as mayor of Basingstoke in 2015-16Cllr Anne Court, pictured, served as mayor of Basingstoke in 2015-16

Anne married Richard, a chartered electrical engineer, in Basingstoke in 1978 and they had two children, Stephen and Claire. Her grandchildren were the love of Anne’s life. 

Paying tribute to Anne, her husband Richard said: “Anne was a wonderful mother, doting grandmother and above all my best friend. We shared a love of life and were a true partnership which spanned the 45 years that we had known each other.

“With family roots in Germany she spent time at school in both Buckeburg in WestFalia  and in England during her teenage years. She had been identified as a potential swimming gold medallist in the Olympic games but the family returned to England before she could pursue this.  

“Anne loved to travel and had accompanied her dad on several occasions on trips overseas and then with myself on business trips to Europe including Gibraltar. Family holidays also took us to USA, Canada, Africa and Europe.  She loved adventure and had been gliding, hot air ballooning, potholing and also driving reindeer sledges in northern Lapland.

“The highlight of her career was undoubtedly the role of Mayor which grew with her and inspired following people. She was indomitable, had boundless energy and enthusiasm which inspired all who worked with her.

“She carried a torch for the community and the numerous charities she encouraged and supported, including earlier in her career a youth club that met on Friday night offering hot food which we funded and cooked. On one occasion we fed over a hundred youngsters at which time we were nicknamed 'Guv and his bird'.

Basingstoke Gazette: The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Cllr Anne Court, with Felicity Court, the Mayoress and baby Alexander and husband Stephen pictured in 2016The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Cllr Anne Court, with Felicity Court, the Mayoress and baby Alexander and husband Stephen pictured in 2016

“She leaves behind a rich and lasting legacy in the community which I will continue. She will be missed.”

As a young mum, Cllr Court became involved in her local Neighbourhood Watch and residents’ association. When her children started at Kempshott Infant School, she became a governor and went on to support the Kempshott community before her election as a ward councillor in 1995.

She was also Chair of Governors at Kempshott Infant School; Secretary of the Kempshott and District Residents’ Association; a co-editor of the Kempshott Kourier; a trustee at Kempshott Village Hall and she was actively involved with both Kancare (Kempshott Neighbourhood Scheme) and the Area Neighbourhood Watch in Kempshott.

Born in London, Anne moved to Basingstoke aged five, when her father was posted to RAF Odiham. She was educated at Old Basing Primary School, Cranbourne Bilateral School, Queen Mary's College and Basingstoke Technical College. Her mother was German and her maternal grandparents lived in Germany, so she spent half her primary school years attending a British military primary school near Hanover. 

After retiring from the RAF, her father’s career took him all over the world and she met many interesting people from different nationalities, lifestyles and beliefs. In her early career, Cllr Court worked for Hyster Europe, The Basingstoke Advertiser and local engineering company Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and Partners.

Basingstoke Gazette: Cllr Simon Bound pictured with Cllr Anne CourtCllr Simon Bound pictured with Cllr Anne Court

The flag at the Civic Offices in Basingstoke will be lowered to half-mast in honour of Cllr Court on the day of her funeral, which is yet to be announced. 

Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Cllr Diane Taylor said: “Anne has been a long-standing colleague and friend to many of us and will be greatly missed. Throughout her period of bad health, she retained her determination to continue effectively in her role as councillor for the Kempshott ward.  She has been a consistent and steadfast presence in the council for many years, a brave fighter and a woman of kindness and wisdom.”

Council Leader Cllr Ken Rhatigan said: “This is terribly sad news and my heart goes out to Richard and the family, who are devastated by Anne’s loss.

"She was a unique lady and showed such bravery in coming back to the council after her operation, which is testament to her dedication to serving her ward and the borough. She was a long-serving and valued member of the councillor community and represented Kempshott so well over many years and is a great loss to us as a council and to the community.

"We are in shock as she was at committee meetings until very recently. She will be sadly missed by us all.”

Ark Cancer Centre Charity trustee Merv Rees said: "Everyone at Ark is saddened by the news that Anne has passed away, and we send our condolences to Richard and her family.

"Anne was a marvellous supporter of Ark, and she played a key role in helping to raise the profile of, and funds for, the charity. She was someone who made a massive difference to many good causes, and she will be much mourned and much missed."

Mark Jones, Ark’s director of fundraising and communications, said: "Anne was a very special and wonderful lady, and she is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. It was always an enjoyable and uplifting experience to spend time with her, and she and Richard became dear friends as well as being wonderful supporters of Ark.

"Anne touched so many lives in such a positive way, and she has left a legacy of kindness, caring and making a difference. I, like so many others, will always feel lucky to have known her."