County councillor Sherma Batson MBE died suddenly over the weekend.

Sherma was first elected to the county council in 2001 as the Labour representative for the Chells division in Stevenage before switching to represent the town’s Broadwater division in 2005.  She stood down in 2009 before being re-elected for Broadwater in May 2013.

During her time as a county councillor she sat on a number of committees and panels, most recently the Health Scrutiny Committee and the Public Health and Localism Cabinet Panel.

Sherma was also a Stevenage Borough councillor and former Mayor of the town.  She was awarded an MBE for services to local government and the community.

Sharon Taylor OBE, speaking on behalf of the Labour Group at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “This is heartbreaking news.  Sherma was, quite simply, unique and incredible.

“Sherma was a force of positive energy, never more so than when she was fighting for equalities and the rights of those more vulnerable members of our community.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”

Robert Gordon, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, offered his condolences: “I am saddened to hear of the sudden death of Sherma over the weekend.

“She was a very thoughtful and committed representative of her constituents who will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”

Robin Parker, speaking on behalf of the Liberal Democrat group at the county council, said: “We were deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of Councillor Sherma Batson.

“She was a true pillar of the local community and people like her are rare indeed.  She gave freely of her time and energies to help local people, and she will be sorely missed.”