TRIBUTES have been paid to a Bersted councillor described as the area’s Joan of Arc.
The affection for Gez Watson was shown at the first meeting of Bersted Parish Council soon after her death.
She passed away on January 7 from an aggressive form of leukaemia. She was aged 62 and had announced her serious illness at a council meeting last summer soon after she was diagnosed.
Councillors said they would like to honour her commitment to the area with a lasting memorial. Suggestions were made for a wall plaque and naming a facility after her.
Cllr Martin Lury told councillors last week: “I think she was our Joan of Arc. She was such an exceptional councillor, almost God-like in what she has done in the community of the Trees Estate. She will be sorely missed there.
“She played a leading role in the Trees Estate Residents’ Association. At times, that must have been a nightmare. She had a lot of stick when she started but she never gave up.
“She kept tabs on the police and, almost single-handedly, turned round what was a huge problem estate.”
Long-serving councillor John Potter also joined the call for Mrs Watson to be remembered.
Cllr David Lainchbury, the council’s vice-chairman, said the council would be willing to be involved in a tribute to Mrs Watson.
A minute’s silence in Mrs Watson’s memory was held at the start of last week’s council meeting .
As well as the parish council and residents’ association, Mrs Watson was heavily involved in the creation of the Bersted Brooks nature reserve. She was also a devoted fan of Manchester United.
Mrs Watson’s husband, Trevor Watson, of Laurel Grove, said: “Gez was a nice person who got on with everybody. She was well known to everyone in this area.
“She was always willing to help. That was her outstanding quality. She was a good listener.”
He met Mrs Watson about 12 years ago and they had been married for much of that time.
Mrs Watson was born in Australia in 1953 after her parents had emigrated there. They returned to England when she was five. She moved to the Trees Estate about 20 years ago.
As well as her husband, she is survived by her son, three grandchildren and one great-grandson and an adopted son.