Published: 17:13, 21 October 2021
| Updated: 15:07, 22 October 2021
An "exceptional" former mayor and Dartford council stalwart has died aged 76.
Councillor Ann Allen MBE, who represented the Maypole and Leyton Cross ward as a Conservative for more than three decades, passed away yesterday.
The devoted public servant was first elected to Dartford council in 1987 and also served on Wilmington Parish Council.
In addition to these responsibilities she was also a long-standing member of Kent County Council (KCC) and was most recently voted its chairman.
She served as the Mayor of Dartford in 1993-94 and again in 2012-13 and had been a member of the cabinet for many years.
Her most recent responsibility was the youth, health and wellbeing portfolio.
In July, she spent some time at Dartford and Crayford Sea Cadets who meet at Brooklands Lake to learn more about what they do and the opportunities afforded to young people.
Cllr Allen utilised her role on KCC to campaign for improved safety measures at schools in her ward, including a new pedestrian crossing at Wilmington Primary School, one of the four schools served by Common Lane.
In a tribute to his colleague, Cllr Jeremy Kite, leader of Dartford council, said: “Ann was held in high regard for the many exceptional things that she did for the council and for our communities.
“Ann was a council, parish and county councillor and a lead member in our cabinet, she worked tirelessly to help as many people as possible and will be greatly missed.”
Cllr Tom Oliver, who represents the Stone House ward, also paid tribute.
He said: "This is truly devastating news. Ann was a dear friend and colleague to many of us and she will be very sadly missed.
"She had the heart of a lion, the strength of an ox, the wisdom of an owl and the soul of everything that's good and proper..."
"Her kindness touched many people in Dartford and beyond. Thoughts are with her family at this difficult time."
Cllr Allen was involved in many voluntary groups and organisations, including Age UK in north west Kent and of Dartford Almshouse Charity.
Rev Martin Henwood, who has known her for 30 years through her work at the Almshouse Charity, described her as "extraordinary".
He said: "Ann was the most remarkable woman and a person of deep, humble faith.
"She was devoted to serving the needs of individuals in the community.
"Softly spoken, but she had the heart of a lion, the strength of an ox, the wisdom of an owl and the soul of everything that's good and proper."
The leader of KCC, Roger Gough also paid tribute to Ann.
He said: "Ann’s devotion to her role as a county councillor, and in particular her passion and commitment to children and young people, was unparalleled. She was greatly loved and will be sorely missed.
"Her dedication as a corporate parent was never just about fulfilling a role. She genuinely
cared so deeply about every child she had a role in providing care for and safeguarding.
"She epitomised the very best of what a county councillor is and can do.
"Ann’s devotion to her role as a county councillor, and in particular her passion and commitment to children and young people, was unparalleled..."
"Ann represented the whole council in her very successful terms of office as chairman of the council.
"She took on the role of chairman for the second time in May this year and was bringing to it all of her usual enthusiasm, her wonderful sense of humour and her desire to meet as many people and organisations across Kent as she possibly could."