'Thanks so much Jane, you were our tower of strength'

A POPULAR councillor who represented Fortune Green for 17 years has died at the age of 71

A POPULAR councillor who represented Fortune Green for 17 years has died at the age of 71.

Lib Dem Jane Schopflin lost her long battle with cancer at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead on December 30

She was born in Glasgow in 1936, an only child to a father who worked in the Clyde shipyards and a seamstress mother.

From her humble beginnings she worked her way through the education system and into politics.

At 15 she won a scholarship to Hutchesons Girls Grammar School in Glasgow and then won another to Glasgow University.

It was there she had her first brush with politics as an active member of the debating society and a Labour party member, along with the likes of John Smith and Donald Dewar.

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Politically she would change allegiance in the 1980s when she became a founder member of the Social Democratic Party.

After leaving university Ms Schopflin worked as a journalist for the Glasgow Herald before moving to London to work as a researcher for the Labour Party and then the BBC as a radio news producer.

On the day John F Kennedy was assassinated she was in charge of the desk and was widely commended for the programmes she produced.

She was first elected to Camden Council in 1990 - joining Cllr Flick Rea, the party's only other representative in the borough.

Cllr Rea said: "Jane was a tower of strength, always fighting for the things she believed in and for the people of Camden.

"She was a determined fighter and never gave up on what seemed like the most hopeless case. She was wise and witty, compassionate and caring, a good friend and a huge support. We will miss her dreadfully."

Ms Schopflin was also a mother to three daughters and a grandmother.

In a tribute at her mother's funeral her eldest daughter Julia said: "I always knew my mother loved me and was proud of me.

"She knew I loved her, but it is only since her death that I have realised how proud I was of her. My mother was an unusual and remarkable woman.

"She loved being a councillor for the opportunities it gave her to help those less fortunate than herself."

Cllr Schopflin showed her resilience last year when she campaigned for re-election despite undergoing chemotherapy.

That year the Lib Dems become the largest party in the council and took control in a coalition with the Conservatives.

She is survived by her ex-husband George Schopflin, who is an MEP for Hungary and a professor in political science, her three daughters, Julia, Sophie and Katharine and grandchildren Max, four, and Zoe, 14.

Donations in her memory should be made out to Shelter and can be sent to her home address in Highgate - 71 Chester Road London N19 5DH. A full memorial is being planned for spring - Ms Schopflin's favourite time of year.