Yesterday a long-standing servant of the people of Cumbria, Councillor Val Tarbitt, who represented Longtown on the county council and on Carlisle City Council, collapsed and died while doing the job she loved representing her constituents.
Val was at a community meeting when she collapsed. A first responder present gave aid while waiting for an NWAS ambulance to arrive but she was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
Among the many, many things Val did to support the people of Cumbria and her division, she was an Armed Forces Champion and at the time of her death she was chairman of the county council's Scrutiny Board for children and young people.
Her death was completely sudden - I was on a Teams call with Val on Tuesday and she wrote me a nice note about it the following day which was to be the last communication I ever received from her. There was not the slightest sign than anything like this might be on the cards.
What can I write about Val?
She worked hard for the people of Cumbria
She really cared.
She will be missed.
Rest in Peace.
The following tribute to Val has now been posted on the Cumbria County Council website
"It is with great sadness that the death of Cllr Val Tarbitt, the Conservative member for Longtown, is announced. Cllr Tarbitt, 81, died suddenly on Friday January 28, having been taken ill at a community event in her division.
She was elected to the county council in 2010, her division including the parishes of Arthuret, Bewcastle, Rockcliffe, Nicholforest, Stapleton, Westlinton and Kirkandrews-on-Esk.
A dedicated public servant with a background in higher education, Cllr Tarbitt held the Shadow portfolio for Children’s Services, was Chair of the Scrutiny Advisory Board - Children and Young People; and was a member of Scrutiny Management Board, LEP Scrutiny Board, Staffing Committee and Carlisle Local Committee.
Her outside appointments included Carlisle Armed Forces Champion, Carlisle Youth Zone, Gillford Centre Pupil Referral Unit, Children and Young People’s Working Group, and Longtown Community Centre.
Paying tribute, Conservative Group Leader Cllr Hilary Carrick said:
“I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of Cllr Val Tarbitt last weekend.
“Val has been an excellent local councillor, campaigning tirelessly for the communities she represented.
“As Chair of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Advisory Board, Val cared passionately that every young person should be given the best possible start in life and the opportunity to live their best lives.
“She was also the County Council’s Armed Forces Champion for Carlisle, proactively engaging with local veterans on a regular basis to try and provide whatever support they needed.
“We will miss Val very much and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”