Tributes are flooding in for Stevenage community champion and former mayor Sherma Batson who has passed away suddenly aged 59

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

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

Tributes are flooding in for former Stevenage mayor and stalwart councillor Sherma Batson, who died suddenly on Saturday night.

Sherma Batson when she got her bike with Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor to welcome t

Sherma Batson when she got her bike with Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor to welcome the Women's Tour in 2015. - Credit: Archant

Mrs Batson was the first black female mayor of Stevenage between 2014 to 2015.

The 59-year-old Labour Party councillor played a key role on Stevenage Borough Council and served her community as an elected member for Roebuck ward.

She was also represented Broadwater on Herts County Council and was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2008, for services to local government and the community.

She was due to celebrate her 60th birthday in April.

Sherma Batson helping tackle tasks during a Rotary Club lend-a-hand day in 2015 when she was mayor.

Sherma Batson helping tackle tasks during a Rotary Club lend-a-hand day in 2015 when she was mayor. - Credit: Archant

Mrs Batson’s daughter Ahisha Ferguson posted on Facebook that Sherma suddenly collapsed on Saturday while attending a soul weekender in Blackpool with her husband Howard.

She said ambulance crews attended and tried to revive her, but she died in hospital at 7.10pm yesterday.

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Ahisha said: “My mum was loved by all who knew her. Thank you to everyone who was praying and sending positive thoughts. It was really appreciated.”

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor who was good friends with Sherma posted on Twitter: “Heartbreaking news of the death of our dear friend, an amazing wonderful woman Sherma Batson. Love thoughts and prayers to her family.”

Stevenage Liberal Democrats leader Robin Parker has also reacted to the sad news this morning.

“I was truly deeply shocked and saddened today to hear of the sudden death of borough and county councillor Sherma Batson,” he said.

“I knew Sherma through her service for 12 years on the borough council and 12 years on the county council.

“Sherma was enthusiastic and committed to all of her many roles in the local community. She was a well-respected and diligent councillor, who spoke out in support of the many causes she supported and she was actively involved in many of them.

“She was heavily involved with the church and many local organisations and was very well known to many local people. In particular, I understand that she was instrumental in the genesis of both the furniture recycling scheme and the ‘Celebrate!’ multi-cultural annual festival in Stevenage. She was an excellent mayor and ambassador for Stevenage.

“Sherma was a true pillar of the local community and people like her are rare indeed. She gave freely of her time and energies to help local people and the town, and she will be very sorely missed. Stevenage has a lot to thank her for.

“Myself and my colleagues send our deepest sympathy and condolences to Howard Rooke and the rest of Sherma’s family.

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