The flag over Three Rivers District Council is flying at half-mast today following the death of its former leader.

Councillor Ann Shaw died at the Michael Sobell Hospice in Northwood on Wednesday following a short battle with illness.

She had been a councillor for more than three decades, representing residents in the area at Rickmansworth Urban District Council before the formation of Three Rivers District Council in 1974.  

Cllr Shaw handed over the Three Rivers reins to Sara Bedford last year, saying it would not mean a reduction in her commitment but rather enable her to spend more time “working to sort out some local problems and issues”.

Cllr Bedford paid tribute to her predecessor, who she described as “a liberal to her heart and her core”.

“She was both very caring and feisty – she fought for what she believed in,” she said.

“She cared very much about her community and the people in it. She had a particular affinity with people who were in some way disadvantaged, who didn’t have the same start in life, money or position, and with children and young people.”

She added that Cllr Shaw would be especially remembered for ensuring the council's strong commitment to the environment, and for the “Beat the Killer Cold” scheme, which gave financial assistance to poorer residents to help them pay winter fuel bills.

Three Rivers chief executive Steven Halls said: ““Cllr Shaw and I worked well together as leader and chief executive for 13 years, agreeing, arguing, occasionally gossiping, yet always with a mutual respect. 

“One of her compliments was ‘I like people I can argue with’. 

“Whether leading partnership delegations to Government on national issues, or cooking cakes for the Pensioners’ Forum, she has given her heart and soul to this district, and to keep up this level of energy over such a long time is astounding. 

“I, and many others, shall miss her kindness, inexhaustible local knowledge and political wisdom.”