Family and friends have paid tribute to a ‘real champion’, who represented Portsmouth during the Trafalgar 200 celebrations.
Felicity Sparshatt died last month from liver cancer, which she fought for a number of years.
Over 180 family and friends filled out St Colman’s Roman Catholic Church in Cosham on Wednesday for the funeral of a woman who believed passionately in the city and its reputation.
Family friend and city council Lib Dem group leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson spoke of Mrs Sparshatt’s ‘great professionalism’.
‘She was incredibly professional, but also great fun,’ said Mr Vernon-Jackson. ‘The city has lost a real champion – she believed passionately in Portsmouth and the city’s reputation. She put so much hard work and effort into her job.’
Mrs Sparshatt, 68, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2011, before it spread to her liver.
Mr Vernon-Jackson described Mrs Sparshatt’s first day as mayoress, at the International Fleet Review as part of the Trafalgar 200 celebrations in 2005.
‘She and Robin had just heard the news that a great friend had died, yet they put their grief to one side whilst they entertained the Queen and Prince Philip onboard HMS Endurance. She was a lady through and through.’
Her husband Robin Sparshatt said: ‘She was the love of my life. I fell in love with her the first time I met her.
‘Everyone used to say she was elegant, charming, and a real lady. She met with royalty on several occasions, but what she liked most of all was visiting local schools.’
The pair met in the Dolphin pub in Old Portsmouth, and married in 1965. They have two daughters, Francesca and Rebecca, and a grandaughter, Evie.
During her career, Mrs Sparshatt was chairwoman of the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth’s Coronation Homes in Southsea for many years. She also volunteered as an HIV councillor and did work for the blind.
In her leisure time, Felicity was a great fan of travel. The couple went on their first cruise around the Caribbean in 1992, and visited more than 70 countries together.
‘Her favourite country was the island of Grenada,’ said Mr Sparshatt. ‘We went there on three or four occasions.’
Conservative councillor Frank Jonas also paid tribute: ‘Felicity was a true lady. She had a great sense of humour, and always supported Robin in his role, particularly as Lady Mayoress. She exuded happiness, and was a pleasure to know.’