THE town of Watchet is mourning the loss of popular and respected councillor Sally de Renzy-Martin who passed away peacefully after a short illness earlier this month at the age of 73.

Sally moved to Watchet in 1982 and soon became actively involved in the Town Council in 1991.

Sally was a hard-working member of several working groups and committees, and she served as chairman of Watchet Town Council six times in 1994-96, 2003-04 and 2010-13.

She also served several terms as a district councillor for Watchet and Williton, as well as being chairman of the Watchet Community Centre Management Committee, Watchet Market, a member of the personnel committee, council representative on the Area Panel, Conservation Society and Market House Museum and the chairman of the Harbour Advisory Committee at the time of her death.

Sally was instrumental in setting up the original Youth Club in Watchet and ran the Management Committee for the Youth Centre until the Committee disbanded and the management of the centre was put back into the remit of the Town Council in 2012.

Cllr John Irven, chairman of Watchet Town Council said: "Sally was a stalwart member of Watchet Town Council. She was always honest and fair, and helped me when I was a newly elected councillor to understand correct processes and the history of which she was also proud."

Town Clerk Sarah Reed said: "I met Sally in August 2002. I noticed immediately her kind and fun-loving nature. She had good knowledge of local government and supported me in my new role, of which I will always be grateful.

"She continued to support me over the next 18 years, and I will never forget her generosity, especially at birthdays and Christmas, she never forgot me.

"I will miss her very much, not only at work but in a personal capacity. The Watchet community has lost a special lady."

Cllr Loretta Whetlor added: "During the past 21 years we have been on many committees and working groups together. One of my most memorable meetings was a Harbour Advisory Committee meeting which she chaired. Her knowledge of all things relating to the sea, Watchet Harbour and boats was amazing to hear. Whoever becomes the new Chair will have an extremely hard act to follow.

"Her legacy will be in so many of the things we have in Watchet today.

"The swimming pool at Knights Templar School, the creation of the Watchet Film Club, the retention of the public toilets, the fight to retain the Watchet library, the Community Centre which used to be the Youth Club of which she was the mainstay.

"Watchet has a lot to thank her for and I don't think many people realise how much."

Cllr Peter Murphy said: "Sally was a dependable colleague who brought great humanity to her work on the council.

"She was a great support to me personally when I was chairman of the council and mayor of Watchet, giving sound advice and counsel when I talked issues through with her.

"I cannot walk round town without people stopping me to reflect on her contribution to the town over many years.

"She will be sorely missed for the knowledge of the local scene she brought to bear and her good common sense."