A tribute to Cllr Frances Mason who sadly passed away on Saturday 5th December 2020, as read by Mark Ingall during Thursday’s Full Council Meeting.
Justice, Fairness and Equality. The principles Frances brought to every aspect of her life. She was the obvious choice for responsibility in the council, as a Portfolio Holder ensuring equality and proper governance. She was a stickler for detail and in the short time she took on this role she made a huge impact. Sometimes her insights would leave us feeling uncomfortable, but that was only because she was unerringly right in her analysis. As the result of her work we have identified areas where we need to improve as a Council. We will take her ideas forward.
Councillor Vince said to me when hearing the tragic news, “Frances was one of the kindest and most compassionate people I have known. Everything she did, her job with the probationary service, her work for the Labour party and her support for local charities she did because she wanted to help people and support them when times were tough.” I agree with Chris.
Wisdom and Honesty.
There are many of us here tonight who can attest to Frances’ ability to give an unvarnished appraisal of a situation, getting straight to the heart of the issue. Many was the time I’ve telephoned her to ask advice and as a result of her input reflected on a position or a direction and refined the work being done. I am truly grateful for her input and I shall miss her counsel.
Come rain or shine, if there were doors to knock on, Frances would be out knocking on doors. If leaflets needed to be delivered, she would deliver leaflets. If careful research had to be done, Frances could be trusted to put in the hours.
Both Councillor Jezzard and Councillor Shears spoke to me of Frances’ wit, humour, her ability to entertain and have fun. One particular evening they remembered was on February the 14th, Valentines night, when she organised a rival event for the gals, “Galantines night”. A fairly raucous event by the sound of it. Valentines, Galantines, I think I know which I’d prefer to go on. I am also reliably informed that Frances coped with her nerves when disagreeing with the Leader of the Opposition by remembering him and picturing him as the 12 year old boy he was when they first met.
Frances loved and was loved. She leaves behind her husband Paul and her daughters Charley and Cassie, who as well as suffering the tragic and untimely loss of their mother, only very recently had to come to terms with the loss of their grandmother, Frances’ mother. She was loved also by her friends, her colleagues and her comrades and by so many people whose lives she touched.
Justice, Fairness, Equality – Kind, wise, honest and hard working – Full of fun and loved by so many, Councillor Frances Mason, Frances, is an awful loss to her family, and to the town of Harlow.
Leader of Harlow Council and of Harlow Labour Group
You can watch the speech by Mark below, as well as Cllr Andrew Johnson’s tribute from the Harlow Conservatives.