SHE was a woman who put people before politics.
Warm tributes have been paid to former Havant mayor Jane Carruthers, who died last week at the age of 89.
She and her surviving husband, Jack Carruthers, were the first married couple to both hold the prestigious title of Honorary Alderman in Havant borough.
Mrs Carruthers’ honour came in 2002 – after 23 years of service to the people of Cowplain.
She came to love Cowplain and its people after settling in the area on the advice of a doctor.
Mrs Carruthers grew up in Lancashire and suffered from a lung condition that meant she had to have a lung removed at the age of 24.
Lancashire was humid, so the consultant advised her to move.
‘He said “you need to live over a hill not too far from the coast where the air is dry”,’ said Jane Wilkins, the daughter of Mrs Carruthers.
‘That’s why we ended up settling this side of Portsdown Hill.’
Mrs Carruthers was an independent councillor and was passionate about planning matters and making sure people had enough facilities.
The mother-of-three was mayor in 1993/1994, following on from her husband, who was a chairman of Havant and Waterlooville Urban District Council.
Mrs Wilkins, from Denmead, said her mother was proud to be independent.
‘She felt independent councillors served the people rather than bowing to political parties,’ she said.
‘She would help anybody. I can recall homeless people – she would put them up for a couple of nights in the caravan in the garden because they had nowhere to live.’
She helped many charities, including Havant Women’s Aid and Home-Start Havant.
Highlights as mayor were meeting the Queen and Downlands Cancara, the stallion from the Lloyds Bank adverts.
Mrs Carruthers moved to Denmead in her retirement before moving into Oakdene Rest Home in Waterlooville with her husband a year ago.
Mrs Carruthers was a china painting teacher and some of her students’ work remains in the council offices.
Long-serving Councillor Gwen Blackett said: ‘Constituents always came first – she would help them in any way she could.’
A funeral service will be held at All Saints Church, Denmead, on December 2 at 11am.