A FAMILY has paid tribute to a former Hampshire mayor who dedicated her life to helping others in the community she loved.

Bobbie Jones, who served on Eastleigh Borough Council in the Chandler’s Ford ward for eight years, has died after a short illness.

The 80-year-old, famous for the many hats she wore as Mayor, was passionate about her home town of Eastleigh and fought hard for the people she represented to ensure their voices were heard.

Family and friends will pay their final respects next week when Jones, who was a councillor from 1988 to 1996 and Mayor of Eastleigh in 1994 to 1995, is laid to rest.

The grandmother-of-one passed away at the Royal County Hospital, in Winchester after a short illness on Tuesday of last week.

Mrs Jones moved to Eastleigh in 1964 from her native Carmarthen in south Wales, living in Chandler’s Ford for 50 years with her husband of 58 years, Ray.

The mother-of-one worked as a teacher for 30 years, first at Glen Eyre School, in Southampton and then at Barton Peveril College in Eastleigh.

Paying tribute to his mother, son Mark Jones said she was passionate about Eastleigh.

“She was very positive, she was very much mind over matter and everything could be solved if you believe it can be solved,” said the 51-year-old.

“She was incredibly proud of Eastleigh, the borough, and of the people and she fought very hard for their interests.

“Although she was from south Wales, she very much thought of herself as an Eastleigh girl.”

As a councillor, Mark said she had argued when the local airport changed its name to Southampton Airport, believing it should be called Eastleigh Airport because of its location.

She lost that battle but a lounge in the airport was named after Eastleigh as a concession.

“She was 4ft 11in but what she lacked in height she made up for in jolliness and personality,” added Mark.

“She had a social conscience and believed that everyone should be able to fulfil their ambition and take advantage of any opportunity.”

Her family said as mayor and in the last 20 years, Mrs Jones had undertaken many charitable and voluntary roles for several organisations and helped set up Eastleigh Bereavement Services and the One Community organisation.

Among those who will pay tribute at her funeral will be MP for Bournemouth West Conor Burns, who campaigned to become Eastleigh MP and told the family that Mrs Jones’ belief in him had inspired him.

Mrs Jones’ funeral is at Wessex Vale Crematorium, in West End, on Monday at 12.15pm. There is a gathering afterwards at The Hub, in Bishopstoke Road, Eastleigh, where everyone is welcome.