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Tributes to former Cambridge city councillor Caroline Hart following her death at 56

Tributes have poured in following the death of Caroline Hart, a former city councillor for Abbey ward, after a short illness. She was 56.

First elected in 2002, Caroline served for 17 years, including a spell as deputy mayor in 2011-12, before standing down in May 2019, when she moved to Littleport with her husband Bruce and son Robert.

Caroline Hart. Picture Cambridge Labour Twitter (25007588)
Caroline Hart. Picture Cambridge Labour Twitter (25007588)

Her death is a huge shock to former colleagues, with councillors from both Labour and the Liberal Democrats speaking warmly of her dedication, determination and kindness.

Cllr Lewis Herbert said: “Caroline really was at the heart of Abbey and always had Abbey in her heart, living there for decades and fighting for the interests of local people as their councillor. It was a responsibility she took very seriously, and she was so proud to represent her community. As well as her ward work, Caroline served on a whole range of committees – especially planning – where her carefully considered and wise words were always valued.

“We will miss her friendship very much, and our thoughts are with her husband Bruce and son Robert – including the times when there will now only be the two of the them shouting for the U’s on the terraces at the Abbey.”

Caroline served on a number of committees, including planning, licensing, civic affairs and city centre development, helping to oversee the Grand Arcade scheme.

Former councillor Ben Bradnack echoed Cllr Herbert’s comments, saying: “Caroline was modest in herself but at the same time so good on the doorstep. She was generous in her judgment of people but also quite steely about what she would and would not support. It was a real privilege to have been able to campaign with her. And that's just the politics. The loss to her family, for whom she was such a tower of strength, is just too difficult to comprehend.”

Cllr Nicky Massey, who represents Abbey ward and worked closely with Caroline, said: “Caroline Hart really was the ‘heart’ of Abbey ward for 17 years. She wanted to put the area on the map and was very vocal about looking after those that needed our help the most. She particularly loved her role as a governor of The Fields Nursery and Children’s Centre – she did that for an incredible 20 years and was a familiar face at their fundraising events.

“Wherever Caroline went she seemed to know all the community and would stop and chat for a kind word. People loved her. She was a great support to me when I was first elected, and I learned a huge amount from working alongside her.

“I visited Caroline at home during her final days and we had a great time talking about what was going on in the city council, and in Abbey. We took a special scroll of thanks from the city council to thank her for her work as deputy mayor, which she was absolutely thrilled with.

“She was still the same Caroline. She told me she had had a good life, with a lovely family, and had achieved what she wanted to do, which was to be an Abbey councillor.”

Cllr Richard Johnson, who worked alongside Caroline as part of the Abbey team, added to the tributes, saying: “Caroline was Abbey. I was so grateful for her support and guidance to me as a newly elected councillor, and really valued her strong friendship and wise counsel. The best tribute we can pay her is to carry on the work that she started, and to stand up for Abbey and its residents.

“One thing she was always very clear on was that politics needed to be kinder – and she was, as always, right about that. Her quiet wisdom and kindness will continue – we’ll make sure of it.”

Cllr Massey is collecting tributes to her which will be compiled into a book that will be presented to her husband and son. If anyone has any memories of Caroline to share, please send them in to the Guildhall.

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