Hundreds turn out to pay their respects at funeral of former Stevenage mayor Sherma Batson

PUBLISHED: 17:43 03 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:43 03 February 2017

The funeral procession in Stevenage for Sherma Batson. Picture: Alan Millard

The funeral procession in Stevenage for Sherma Batson. Picture: Alan Millard

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Hundreds of people turned out this afternoon to pay their respects to former Stevenage mayor and councillor Sherma Batson, who died suddenly last month aged just 59.

Councillor Sherma Batson, who was mayor of Stevenage in 2014/15, died suddenly at the age of 59.Councillor Sherma Batson, who was mayor of Stevenage in 2014/15, died suddenly at the age of 59.

It is thought up to 500 people attended the 2pm service at St Hugh and St John Church in Mobbsbury Way, with side rooms of the church completely full.

The St Hugh and St John service for Sherma Batson, which was attended by an estimated 500 people. Picture: Alan MillardThe St Hugh and St John service for Sherma Batson, which was attended by an estimated 500 people. Picture: Alan Millard

Such was the turnout that some mourners – who were invited to wear something red in Mrs Batson’s honour – listened to the service through speakers placed outside the church.

Following the service, a wake was held at the Ibis Forum Conference and Banqueting suite in Stevenage town centre.

A long-serving councillor, and Stevenage’s first female black mayor, Sherma passed away suddenly on January 8, after collapsing at a soul event in Blackpool the day before.

She represented Broadwater on Herts County Council, was heavily involved with her church and many community groups, and was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2008 for services to local government and the community.

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