TRIBUTES for former Mayoress of Calderdale, Dorothy O’Connor, have been flooding in.
Dorothy, aged 65 died peacefully at Overgate Hospice, Elland, after an 18-month battle with cancer.
Married to former councillor Chris O’Connor, Dorothy moved to the Lightcliffe area in the early 70s. She had three children, Fiona, 38, Alison, 35, and Christopher, 30.
Dorothy worked as a teaching assistant with reception children at Lightcliffe Preparatory School, now known as Hipperholme Grammar Junior School.
She was an active member of the Halifax and Calder Valley Branch Multiple Sclerosis Society and a member of Brighouse Light Opera Society.
Fiona said: “My mum was diagnosed with MS 20 years ago and she got involved with it soon after. When she was Mayoress of Calderdale in 2001-02 she saw it as a fantastic opportunity to highlight the work of the MS Society and raise more money and awareness.”
At the end of their year of office they had raised enough funding for a specialist nurse to be appointed in July 2002 for three years.
Dorothy was a member of Christ Church and a member of Calderdale Strakonice Twin Link organisation with her husband Chris aged 70.
Fiona said she also supported her dad’s election campaigns. “She was attentive to the needs of everybody around her. She was a marvellous friend to people. A very good hostess and had a kind sense of humour. She was very supportive of dad.”
Fiona added that Dorothy was soon to become a grandma for the fourth time in June, as Christopher and his new wife Sarah were expecting their first child.
Liz Schofield and Susan Whitwell from the MS Society said Dorothy was a very active member. They said she organised the MS Cake Break events and lots of people would have met her at supermarket collections, galas and a variety of other social gatherings.
“She was always ready to help and join in, even when her own MS issues were difficult to manage. Our Christmas panto’s wouldn’t have been possible without her stage direction,” they said.
“When we told committee colleagues that Dorothy had sadly passed away, the overriding comment has been ‘she was such a lovely lady’ and that says it all really.
“We will remember Dorothy as a kind, gentle and committed friend who tried her utmost to help others. Our MS Community has lost a great champion. Our thoughts are with Chris and the rest of the family.”
She also leaves three grandchildren, twins, Mose and Arlo aged three and Lucas one month.
A service to celebrate her life will be at Christ Church, Hipperholme, on Saturday at 10am. Followed by cremation at Park Wood at 11am. There will be refreshments at Christ Church afterwards.
The family would like to encourage people to donate to Overgate Hospice that helped Dorothy in her final days.
They would also like to thank the NHS staff at Halifax, Huddersfield and Leeds and the MS society for their ongoing support.