RECOLLECTIONS of the 30-year contribution Councillor Olwyn Barnett made to public life in the county have spanned political divides today.

Councillor Barnett, chairman of the council, died last night having fought a long-term illness for some time.

Councillor Barnett served as a county councillor for Mortimer ward for over 34 years, holding several high profile political portfolios in doing so.

She had served the council as chairman since 2011.

Recognised as a redoubtable - often indefatigable - opponent in the chamber, Coun Barnett transferred that same tenacity to causes behind the scenes, particularly in the areas of education and social care.

She was also a founder member of St Michael’s Hospice and a dedicated supporter and fundraiser.

In 2012, she established the Herefordshire Diamond County Awards, which continue to recognise and celebrate local businesses' commitment to helping our communities.

Leading today's tributes, Alistair Neill, Herefordshire Council chief executive, said Coun Barnett was a "credit" to both the authority and her ward.

 "She will be greatly missed for her tremendous spirit and total commitment to Herefordshire and the council. Our heartfelt condolences are with her family, friends and colleagues at this time,"  he said