Tributes paid to former councillor Val

Tributes have flooded in following the death of former Oxfordshire County and Oxford City councillor Val Smith.

Val, wife to newly re-elected Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, passed away at 9am on Friday morning after a long battle with cancer.

She had represented Blackbird Leys for the city council for 27 years before stepping down last September after her cancer became more aggressive.

Val had lived in Oxford since she was 16 and met Andrew when he was studying in the city, before going on to marry in 1976.

Andrew said: “Our beautiful Val passed away peacefully in her sleep at Sobell House this morning.

“I have lost the most wonderful loving wife who has been my rock and inspiration, and our family a devoted mother and grandmother.

“Val brought so much joy to all who knew her, helped so many people and worked tirelessly for the community she loved. We will miss her so much.”

Val became a city councillor for Blackbird Leys in 1987, and was previously Lord Mayor of Oxford.

Peter Sloman, chief executive of the city council, said: “Val was held in high regard and affection by council staff both past and present who worked with her over many years.

“It is a sad day for the council and our heartfelt best wishes go out to Andrew and Val’s family members.”

The Oxford East Conservative Association (OECA) also expressed their sadness and condolences at the news.

OECA deputy chairman Samuel Burgess said: “Val’s reputation as a kind, compassionate and hard working member of the community preceded her.

“She will undoubtedly be missed by many; our thoughts are with her husband Andrew and all of her family and friends at the time.”

And fellow county councillors paid tributes to Val, who served the Leys and Lye division for nine years.

Cllr Rodney Rose, deputy leader of the county council, said: “Val was an articulate and hard-working councillor who rolled up her sleeves and served her electors with distinction for several decades.

“She was held in great respect across the political divide and commanded respect among officers and councillors alike. There is great sadness at her passing.”

Cllr Liz Brighouse, leader of the Labour group at the county council, said: “Val was a wonderful, trusted colleague and friend for many years.

She was the personification of what a good local councillor should be.”

Val leaves behind a son, Luke, and 16-year-old granddaughter Mirai.