Carers Week walk in memory of former Stevenage mayor and carers’ champion Sherma Batson

Councillor Sherma Batson was mayor of Stevenage for 2014/15

Councillor Sherma Batson was mayor of Stevenage for 2014/15 - Credit: Archant

People will be taking part in a sponsored walk tomorrow (Saturday) to honour the memory of former Stevenage mayor, Sherma Batson.

The walk comes at the end of national Carers Week because Mrs Batson championed carers before her sudden death earlier this year.

Stalwart councillor Sherma Batson was the first black female mayor of Stevenage, played a key role on Stevenage Borough Council and served her community as an elected member for the Roebuck ward.

She was also a Herts county councillor for Broadwater and was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2008 for service to local government and the community.

She died in January, aged 59, after suddenly collapsing at a soul weekender in Blackpool.

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On Saturday, Crossroads Care North Herts has organised a sponsored walk in her memory at Fairlands Valley Park in Stevenage.

Groups will be setting off from Costello’s Cafe at 11am, and every half hour after that until the last group at 4.30pm, to walk two laps of the lake circuit, which is expected to take about an hour.

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Participants will be raising money for the Crossroads Care Stevenage Respite Centre.

Organiser Norman Phillips said Sherma came to their aid when funding cuts in 2010 meant facilitated carer groups had to stop.

Carers began meeting independently at Stevenage’s Oval Community Centre, but could not afford to pay for the room hire, so Sherma offered them space at the council offices.

When the group expanded, she helped them to apply to councillors for discretionary funds to move to a bigger place.

Norman said: “Sherma worked tirelessly on our behalf and always made time to come along to our events, whether it be Carers’ Week, Carers Rights Day, or anything else we dreamed up.

“She made us feel valued, and for carers that is a very precious gift.

“Our carers’ group is now 50 plus and we reach out to all carers in our town. Without Sherma we would have faded away, so she means a lot to us. She was our true carers’ champion.

“If anyone still wants to come along on Saturday, they are more than welcome.”

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