Tributes have been paid to Shortlands ward councillor Mary Cooke, who passed away in her sleep after falling seriously ill last weekend.

According to Beckenham Conservatives, Cllr Cooke suffered a “sudden catastrophic heart attack” at home on January 2, which left her with “severe and irreparable brain damage”.

She passed away aged 73 at Princess Royal University hospital on Friday morning (January 7) in the company of her closest family.

Her obituary reads: “Mary will be most fondly remembered for her inimitable style where she was a constant vibrant burst of colour in and outside of the council chamber, both metaphorically and in dress.

“Never afraid to speak her mind, she was hugely popular across both the council and Beckenham Conservatives.

“To those who had the good fortune to get to know Mary her friendship was an incredible gift that she bestowed to fortunate recipients, often informing people in her direct manner: ‘you’re my friend now’.

“Her smile and sense of humour entertained so many and she brightened up any proceeding she attended. I consider it a great honour to have known Mary and a privilege to have had the gift of her friendship.

“Dearest Mary, our world has lost a shining star. On behalf of our whole party, the countless local residents you helped, and mostly importantly as a great friend - you will be so sorely missed by us all.”

Arriving on the scene in within five minutes, the ambulance service worked for over an hour to bring Cllr Cooke back to life, rushing her PRUH where she continued to receive first class care. 

Following further observation and tests over several days it was confirmed that Mary had sustained severe and irreparable brain damage.

Her husband Brian, in consultation with the medical team and Mary’s wider family, made the difficult decision to withdraw life support.

Cllr Cooke, who was elected in 2014, was chairman of adult care and health PDS committee and chairman of the health overview scrutiny committee.

According to Beckenham Conservatives, she had a particular interest in the effect of loneliness on health, becoming a “vociferous supporter of the Freedom Pass and activities which help reduce social isolation.”

An allotment holder for more than 20 years, she also chaired the council’s allotment panel, organising the annual competition, open to any plot holder across the borough’s 51 sites.

Councillor Colin Smith, Leader of Bromley Council said: “As we mourn the loss of our close friend Mary, our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences naturally turn to her husband Brian and her wider family and friends at this desperately upsetting time.

“Those of us who were fortunate enough to know Mary well, will never forget the thoughtful intelligence and commitment she brought to the various roles which she fulfilled, her determination and resolve to get things done to make things better for the benefit of the borough’s residents, her wicked sense of humour and the happiness she brought to those she met and worked with.

“She had served Shortlands residents with relentless enthusiasm and distinction for the past 8 years and will be an extremely hard act to follow.

"Goodbye Mary, may you rest in peace. You will be very sadly missed by many, many people.”

Her family have set up a Just Giving page in her memory. Anyone who would wish to donate may do so here:

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