Published: 00:00, 27 October 2016
| Updated: 10:12, 27 October 2016
Liberal Democrat Sarah Smith has lost her battle with ovarian cancer aged 52.
The mother of two grown up girls from Chillenden died in the early hours of yesterday (Wednesday).
A statement from the party’s East Kent Coast branch said on Wednesday: “It is with deep regret that we announce Sarah Smith, former Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Dover and Deal, passed away early this morning after a brave and resilient fight with cancer.”
Mrs Smith was diagnosed with the condition at stage three during the run up to the 2015 election. It is a disease that killed her mother, and through both women’s treatment Mrs Smith praised the NHS.
At the May 2015 election she was pitted against contenders Charlie Elphicke (Cons), Clair Hawkins (Lab) and David Little (Ukip). She came fourth with 1,572 votes.
Issues she championed included creating skilled jobs, investment in roads, like dualling the A2 and creating a subterranean tunnel for port bound traffic. She wanted more cycle routes, better broadband, and education was her passion. She was particularly keen to see more apprenticeships offered.
In an interview at her home with The Mercury, she said she had life experience and a measured evidence based method to offer the people of Dover and Deal. She vowed to vote for what mattered to constituents, not what matters to her party.
In a tweet last night MP Charlie Elphicke, said: "Incredibly sad to hear that Sarah Snith has lost her brave battle against cancer. A doughty election opponent I will greatly miss."
She was originally diagnosed in October 2014 and was given the all clear in June 2015. But seven months later in December 2015 she was told her cancer had returned
She then told The Mercury:
“The reasons I was standing for parliament didn’t go away when I got a life-threatening diagnosis."
She added: “If anything, it made them more important. Dover was not a winnable seat for a Liberal Democrat in 2015, but I wanted to show that an ordinary person like me can stand up and make a difference. It seemed this might be my last chance to do that, and I didn’t want to give up.”
Baroness Brinton of Kenardington, Lib Dems party president said: “Sarah was an outstanding woman whose tireless care for people and her liberal beliefs made her a brilliant Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in Dover and Deal.
“Her untimely death has robbed us of an exceptional person who was loved by all who knew her. She is much missed.”
Mrs Smith leaves a husband Robert, former husband and close friend Barry and their daughters Becky, 28, and Elli, 21.
The statement from the local party added: “We have truly lost a strong voice for Liberal values. A wonderful person and an inspiration to many. She will be deeply missed by us all.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”