Tributes to former Lib Dem councillor who served for more than 20 years

Sally Horner represented Broadbridge Heath at Horsham District Council from 1989 to 2011
Sally Horner represented Broadbridge Heath at Horsham District Council from 1989 to 2011

A former Lib Dem councillor who represented Broadbridge Heath for more than two decades died at the weekend.

Sally Horner, a former English teacher at Tanbridge House School and parish councillor for many years, was first elected to Horsham District Council in 1989 and served the village until stepping down in 2011.

She chaired the planning committee during the Lib Dem administration between 1995 and 1999 and also led the Lib Dem group on the council for a period.

Sally died suddenly on Sunday (January 27) from an aggressive form of bacterial pneumonia.

Writing on Facebook, a current Lib Dem councillor Christine Costin described Sally as a ‘tower of strength to me when I fist became councillor’, adding: “She was sincere, caring and committed to helping everyone. Full of fun and laughter.”

David Skipp, current leader of the Lib Dem group at HDC, described how since Sally’s forte was planning she was a great source of information for him as a newly-elected councillor in 2007.

He added: “I remember that she always cycled to meetings and was always cheerful, although quick to correct misapprehensions in a polite way.

“She was greatly missed when she moved to Greece and my thoughts are with the family at this time of loss.”

In a statement Broadbridge Heath Parish Council said it was ‘deeply saddened’ to hear about Sally’s death, adding: “Sally was always very committed to enabling the best for the community of Broadbridge Heath and was active in many activities within the village.

“Her enthusiasm and care for following up on aspects affecting both individuals and groups within the community, is well remembered.

“Sally brought with her to the parish council a sense of commitment and service to the community and she will be fondly remembered by those that knew her.

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

A keen cyclist, Sally cycled to most Horsham District Council meetings, whatever the weather. She was an enthusiastic supporter of the first doorstep collection scheme in the Horsham district, which was introduced under the Liberal Democrats.

She always fought hard for Broadbridge Heath. She recognised that expansion of the village was inevitable, so she worked, with the parish council and others, to get new facilities delivered as part of the development of the village masterplan. She was disappointed to learn that not all of the promises were fully honoured.

Sally retired with her husband Neil to the beautiful Greek island of Samos, where they embraced the culture of their new home, learning Greek and Greek country dancing, and participating in the annual Samos Dance Festival.

They continued their passions for walking, cycling and sailing and spent many hours planning their home and hacking into the unsympathetic local soil to create a Mediterranean garden.

Whilst Neil learnt how to build drystone walls to terrace the land, Sally put her horticultural expertise to good work in planning what to grow and where to plant it, as well as how to get the most out of the scarce water supply.

She was fascinated by nature, and the native plants of this new area, even finding a rare orchid, known as the Earwig Orchid, in the Eastern part of Samos, which was previously only known in the Western part of the island.

A keen environmentalist, it was no surprise when Sally joined a group involved in walking and maintaining some of the old trails on the island.

Sally is survived by her husband Neil, and a daughter and two sons.