It is with deep sadness that Cornwall Council members and staff learnt of the passing of Councillor Candy Atherton, Member for Falmouth Smithick, overnight.
Candy was first elected as the member of parliament for Falmouth and Camborne in 1997, and held the seat with an increased majority in 2001, before being defeated by Liberal Democrat Julia Goldsworthy in 2005.
In 2013 Candy returned to front-line politics, becoming the Cornwall Councillor for the Falmouth Smithick division. She held the seat at this year’s elections in May.
Cornwall Council Chairman Mary May said: “I am shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Councillor Candy Atherton. She was a dedicated, committed and passionate public servant for Cornwall. She always put people first – as an MP she argued with the then Labour Government for adequate funding for Cornwall; she was a driving force behind the Surestart project to give our children the very best start and during her time as a Cornwall Councillor she spoke up for vulnerable people at the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee. Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Brod and her family as they come to terms with their tragic loss.
Labour Group Leader Councillor Tim Dwelly also paid tribute to Candy.
“Councillor Candy Atherton’s passing is a huge shock to people. Candy was a remarkable woman and arguably the leading politician in Cornwall’s recent past. A staunch advocate for Cornwall, she was instrumental in lobbying Tony Blair’s Government to secure over £2billion in investment for Cornwall. Many of the things we take for granted today – fibre broadband, the University, new roads, airports and more – have her imprint. She loved Falmouth and worked her socks off for the town. She never stopped championing for her constituents and put a huge amount of energy into everything she did.
She will be deeply missed by us all. I would like to pass my sincerest condolences to her husband Brod, her friends and family at this very difficult time.”
Flags at New County Hall have been lowered to half-mast in respect.
Members and colleagues from across the Council have paid tribute to Councillor Atherton.
Jude Robinson, former Cornwall Councillor and close friend of Candy Atherton said: “Few people have achieved as much as Candy and her contribution to Cornwall is huge. But on a personal level, she made time for anyone who had a problem and worked as hard for them as she did on any of the big issues. She loved her time on the council for one reason – she felt she could make a difference. Cornwall has lost a great woman and a great friend.”