Tributes to 'force of nature' Suffolk councillor Caroline Page who campaigned to the end

Caroline Page's lung cancer was mistaken for long Covid in its early stages.
Credit: ITV News Anglia.
Caroline Page had been the county councillor for Woodbridge since 2008. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A "tireless, brilliant and dedicated" county councillor has died, on the 75th anniversary of the NHS she had championed "until the end".

Cllr Caroline Page, 65, from Woodbridge in Suffolk, was diagnosed with lung cancer last year after suffering from breathlessness which was initially treated as Long Covid.

Yesterday (July 5th), from her bed in Ipswich Hospital, she issued a passionate statement to ITV News Anglia in support of frontline health workers - urging people "to care for the NHS as well as it cares for us".

She died hours later, surrounded by her family.

Patrick Gillard at the bedside of his wife Caroline Page. Credit: Family photo

Her husband, Woodbridge Mayor Patrick Gillard, said: "I think she would have been strangely honoured to die on the birthday of the NHS which she valued so highly."

Cllr Page, a Liberal Democrat, had represented Woodbridge on Suffolk County Council since 2008.

The mother-of-three had campaigned fiercely on a variety of topics, serving as the spokesperson for women, disabilities and adult care.

A keen wild swimmer, she co-founded a successful campaign to 'Save the River Deben' by improving water quality and restoring bathing status.

Her fellow campaigners said she was "a woman who gave to her community right up until the end and who will be missed beyond words".

They posted on Facebook: "Swim to your heart's content my friend, you will always be in our hearts."

Cllr Caroline Page continued to serve the residents of Woodbridge from her hospital bed. Credit: Family photo

Cllr Page was also the Deputy Leader for the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group on Suffolk County Council.

The group's leader, Cllr Andrew Stringer, said: “Caroline was a true force of nature, a tireless campaigner and a brilliant councillor.

"From cleaning up rivers, to championing women’s equality, Caroline set the bar for what a councillor should aspire to be - always putting her community first.

"For those that had the pleasure to work alongside her, we are proud to call her a friend.”

Last year, Cllr Page told ITV News Anglia that her inoperable lung cancer diagnosis had left her feeling "like a child who has been taken away from a party too soon".

"As a county councillor I've got so many things I want to do," she said. "And as a person I've got so many things."

Cllr Page enjoyed travelling, spending time with friends and family and cycling - she had previously taken part in a bike ride from Land's End to John O'Groats.

Cllr Page was a keen cyclist who had completed marathon rides. Credit: Family photo

Cllr Keith Robinson, Suffolk County Council’s Chairman, said Cllr Page had an "unwavering enthusiasm and relentless passion for serving her residents".

He said: “Despite Caroline’s health challenges in recent years, she committed everything she had to ensuring Woodbridge and its residents were looked after and championed.

"Caroline also made sure she continued to make us smile in recent months through her regular Twitter updates, sharing her photos, videos and wit."

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