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Revered Newark and Sherwood district and Nottinghamshire county councillor Maureen Dobson, who represented Collingham for decades, dies

A councillor who dedicated her life's work to helping people in the communities she served has died.

Maureen Dobson represented Collingham on both Newark and Sherwood District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council as an independent.

She passed away on Tuesday, November 30 surrounded by family.

Councillor Maureen Dobson. (53475570)
Councillor Maureen Dobson. (53475570)

Her daughter, Rebecca Blackwood, remembers her as a loving mother and politician who was always willing to offer help and advice.

Rebecca said: "She was as loving, optimistic and humorous with her family as she was as a councillor and public servant. She was a fiercely independent person, who valued honour and morality in public life.

"That independence is probably not what we see in politics today, but is probably something we should see a lot more of. Honesty and truthfulness were the values that she held highly.

"No matter who called her, when they called her, or whether she represented them or not, if she could help people, she did.

"As a family member, you could always call her at any time of day or night and have a really wise conversation with her where she always brought a real clarity to any concerns that you had."

Mrs Dobson went to Highfields School in Newark and went on to train in performing arts at Tring Park School.

She married Vincent and the couple ran an engineering business in Newark together whilst they were active in local politics.

"Their relationship was very loving and incredibly supportive, they both had their own views and we had vibrant discussions if they didn't agree with each other," said Rebecca.

Mrs Dobson spent a year as Newark Town Mayor in 1981 and opened a youth café in the market place for young people during that time.

She was passionate about arts and culture and choreographed a number of productions for the Newark Amateur Operatic Society.

"She valued arts and culture highly, she was an incredible dancer. From a very young age, she learnt ballet in Newark and then went on to semi-professional dancing," Rebecca said.

Mrs Dobson was also a trustee of several charities and organisations, including the St Leonard's Hospital Trust, Newark Community First Aid and Headway Lincolnshire and was instrumental in creating the Trent Vale Trail.

She worked hard in the Collingham community during covid-19 to make sure residents got the support they needed.

This included helping volunteers to set up a food pantry, which is still operating, setting up several whatsapp groups, facilitating the manufacture of hand sanitizer locally and getting hold of PPE.

She worked with residents of Girton to improve their flood relief plans, represented the residents of Winthorpe on issues surrounding the A46 and campaigned for maintaining the A1133 weight restriction.

Gill Dawn, who represented Newark's Bridge Ward for 33 years, knew Mrs Dobson well.

She said: "As councillors, we didn't always agree but we always managed to find a compromise that was beneficial to our constituents.

"Maureen's passing is a tragic loss to the town and to the people who she served. My regards go to her family, with whom she was so close."

Nottinghamshire County Council’s chief executive Anthony May said: "Maureen made a significant contribution to the work of the council, serving on many of the council’s committees, including the personnel committee and the transport and environment committee. My sincere condolences go to Councillor Dobson’s family.”

Leader of the county council, Ben Bradley MP said: “The community has lost a dedicated, energetic and formidable campaigner who put those she represented first.

"Maureen was hugely respected across the chamber and always had something to say. Debates were lively because of her character and simply will not be the same without her presence.

“More recently, Maureen was heavily involved in the newly established highways review panel meeting where she was passionate about working with others to find new ways to improve the roads across Nottinghamshire.

"She was also actively involved in the covid-19 response work making sure that people knew where and how to access support in their community and in relation to the flood response efforts. Maureen was a dedicated public servant.”

John Robinson, chief executive of Newark and Sherwood District Council said “I’m extremely sorry to hear that Maureen has passed away.

"Despite her illness, she continued to put the needs of others first and was relentless in serving the people she represented.

"Maureen will be hugely missed by many at the council and in the community, who regarded her as a friend as well as an elected representative”.

Alan Rhodes, former leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "Maureen was absolutely clear about her independence. This was her abiding principle as a member of the county council and one which she was determined to uphold regardless of what anyone said or thought about her."

Alan Hudson of the Trent Vale Trail said: "Without Maureen's encouragement, determination and guiding us in the right directions, I doubt that the Trail would ever have come to fruition.

"The friends of the Trent Vale Trail will miss her contributions and support."

Maureen is survived by her two children and four grandchildren, alongside other family members.

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