Members of Cherwell District Council are paying tribute to Maureen Hastings, a former council chairman who has passed away at the age of 92.
Mrs Hastings was a valued member of the council, serving the Yarnton ward for over 26 years from 1982 until 2008. Born in Kensington and Chelsea in November 1927, Maureen and her family left London after being bombed out in World War Two.
After a spell in Crowell in south Oxfordshire, the family moved to Begbroke, where the young Maureen attended St Juliana’s Convent School. She would go on to become a loved member of the local community, and known for fighting for causes she believed in.
She was elected as Cherwell’s vice chairman in May 2001, before being made chairman in 2002, a role which she undertook for two years until 2004. Immediately following that she was re-elected as vice chairman for a further year from 2004 to 2005.
Cllr Barry Wood, leader of the council, said: “Many local residents will remember what a first-class, community-based councillor Maureen was. Others will recall that for many years she was the matron at Bicester School. I remember fondly the many occasions she helped with canvassing for votes in Bicester when nearly every young adult said ‘Hello, matron how are you?’. She loved that. She will be missed by all her old friends on the council.”
Mrs Hastings studied domestic science in college as a young woman before going on to work as a nurse at Battle Hospital in west Reading and at The Nuffield, Oxford. In 1953, she married Norman Hastings, the son of a local Begbroke farmer.
Mrs Hastings’ interest in local politics saw her progress through the parish council and the boards of governors of local Catholic schools. As well as serving on Cherwell District Council she was also an elected member of Oxfordshire County Council.
Aside from her work as a local councillor, Mrs Hastings taught flower arranging and was chair of the Oxford Flower Club for many years. She was also involved in a successful campaign to retain Catholic schools in Oxford and the Diocese of Birmingham and was recognised for this with a Benemerenti Medal for services to the Catholic Church, awarded by Pope John Paul the second.
Cllr Maurice Billington, councillor for Kidlington East, said: “It was a really sad day when my closest friend Maureen passed away. She was well loved in Yarton and Begbroke and we shared several committees together, especially planning. She was well-loved and I shall miss our cups of tea in the garden.”
Mrs Hastings served on numerous committees during her time as a councillor, including housing services; estates and economic development; planning; personnel; finance and appeals.
She passed away on Saturday 25 July, and is survived by her three sons Malcolm, David, and Christopher; and their families.