Shropshire Star

Tributes to committed councillor who was 'Hadley through and through'

Tributes have been paid to a long-standing and committed councillor, who always wanted her borough to "be a lovely place".

Councillor Pat Smart unveiling the village green named in memory of her husband.

Pat Smart, who was a member of Hadley and Leegomery Parish Council since the mid 1990s, died last month at the age of 80.

Her husband and lifelong partner, John, who was also a councillor, died in 2021 at the age of 77.

The pair were together from age 12 and 13, and married in 1966 aged 22 and 23. They moved into their home on Church Street in Hadley, where they remained for the rest of their lives.

The couple had two daughters, Rachel, 50, and Helen 45, who is married to Iain, 48, and two grandsons, Luke, 21, and Joseph, 16.

Both Pat and John became parish councillors in the 1990s, with each serving terms as chairman of the council.

Pat was well known for organising St George's Day concerts and Christmas carol services as well as fundraising events.

A tribute from her family described her patriotic pride – and love of the traditions of English village life.

They said: "She had an excellent eye for detail, which shone through in her design of many a leaflet or poster for the council, friends’ businesses and her beloved St George’s Day concerts and Christmas Carol Services that she arranged every year, without fail!

"Tradition was a big thing with her, she was fervently English – not British! She loved the sound of the village; the chime of a church bell, the crack of a ball against a cricket bat – that was her England.

"She also arranged the Remembrance Sunday parades whilst Chairman of the Parish Council, and beyond, she felt it so important to remember the fallen, and took great pride in honouring them."

Pat's time on the council included a focus on making Hadley look its best with many of the local spring bulbs and hanging baskets down to her.

Pat's youngest daughter Helen said: "She wanted Hadley to remain a lovely place to be."

Pat was always a stickler for ensuring she was smartly dressed for council meetings and any other functions she attended, with Helen adding: "Casual clothing was a definite no-go for such events."

Helen said that it was only looking through paperwork in preparation for her mother's funeral that the family truly understood the extent of her “volunteer” career – from fundraising on numerous occasions, to organising community events, to helping raise donations for overseas causes.

Pat was born in Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, in 1943.

Her parents had moved there due to her father’s work as a chemist. She, her mother and one of her three brothers left Brazil to travel to Britain in 1950, with Pat celebrating her seventh birthday on the ship.

They were reunited with the oldest brother of the family and made their home in Hadley.

Pat then grew up in Hadley, going to Wellington High School for Girls.

Her family said she was "Hadley through and through", and remained there until she went into Roden Care Home for the last nine days of her life.

At school, she had enjoyed music and singing, and was also quite sporty, playing hockey.

When Pat left school, she worked at the MOD depot, then worked at Sankey's, as did many from Hadley, including her husband, John.

After leaving Sankey’s, she worked at TDC (Telford Development Corporation), and was involved in the design of the new Telford Town Centre.

John was made redundant from Sankey’s in 1981, so he and Pat set up their own business, J & P Smart Stained Glass, which was run from their home.

Pat created designs for dozens of windows for customers’ homes and workplaces, even the parish council logo stems from her creation, following her design of the window above the main door to the parish offices.

Helen said family time was hugely important to her mother.

She said: "As children, there was always someone there when we returned from school. We would sit down to the evening meal together – family and family-time were very important."

Helen said the ritual continued when the grandchildren came along, and the family would often share a roast beef Sunday dinner together, around the table, "sharing stories and jokes".

She added: "These were some of her favourite times – good food, surrounded by her family."

The funeral will be at Holy Trinity Church, Hadley, today at 11.30am, followed by the committal at Telford Crematorium.