By Graham Smith
Edwina Hannaford, active in Cornish local government for decades, has died. She was 63.
A member of Cornwall Council since its creation in 2009, councillor Hannaford represented Looe West, Lansallos, Lanteglos and Pelynt.
Prior to that she had been a member of the former Caradon district council. She was a member of the Liberal Democrat-Independent cabinet at County Hall between 2017-2021, becoming the council’s main spokesperson for climate issues. She was one of the few cabinet members to vote against the council's decision to build the Newquay spaceport.
A former pupil at Liskeard grammar school, councillor Hannaford was also a member of Looe Town Council.
In December the town council called an extraordinary meeting so that members could unanimously grant the Honorary Freedom of the Town to councillor Hannaford "in recognition of her many years of meritorious service to Looe; her service as a councillor, both for Looe and for Cornwall, and as Mayor of Looe; and for her many charitable and community activities."
It was the first time that Freedom of the Town had been granted in Looe for many years - the highest honour a town can give to someone of value in its community. The origins of the award go back to 1272.
Councillor Hannaford had been leader of County Hall’s Liberal Democrat group until stepping down through ill-health in September 2022.
Councillor Hannaford was one of only a handful of members known by everyone, in Looe and at County Hall, by her first name alone. She will be remembered with great affection for her energy and tenacity.
In 2018 when a local music festival looked as if would have to be cancelled, Edwina was a driving force behind a “Looe Saves The Day” community initiative to ensure the event went ahead.
In a rare display of cross-party unity, the full council voted unanimously to grant her a 12-month leave of absence as she tried to battle her ill health.
Much of the casework for councillor Hannaford’s division has for the past 15 months been handled by her friend and neighbouring councillor, Armand Toms, and by her Liberal Democrat colleague councillor Colin Martin.
Council chiefs had been hoping this arrangement might continue until the next full round of elections in May 2025. But now a by-election appears inevitable.