Tributes paid to Ann Carlisle, former Wisbech mayor and former chairman of Fenland Council, whose death announced at age of 81

Ann Carlisle

Ann Carlisle - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to ‘dedicated and passionate’ former Wisbech mayor Ann Carlisle who has died at the age of 81.

Unveiling of a new headstone in the cat cemetery at Peckover House. It was the first one to be insta

Unveiling of a new headstone in the cat cemetery at Peckover House. It was the first one to be installed since the property was given to the trust in 1948. Staff watch as Ann Carlisle lays some flowers - Credit: Archant

Miss Carlisle had been a member of many charitable organisations including chairman of the Wisbech Society for 10 years.

She served as division president for St John and had been both a town and Fenland district councillor.

Miss Carlisle was born in Sheffield and was the eldest of Dr William (Bill) Carlisle and his wife Joyce’s three children. She leaves one brother Hugh, a retired judge from London. Her youngest brother John died in 1992.

The family moved to Wisbech where Dr Carlisle worked at the North Cambs Hospital. He was given the Freedom of the Borough when he retired and a ward was named after him at the hospital.

LtoR David Gwilliam (Clinical Lead MIU, CCS NHS Trust), Sara Meekins (Mayoress) and Nick Meekins (Ma

LtoR David Gwilliam (Clinical Lead MIU, CCS NHS Trust), Sara Meekins (Mayoress) and Nick Meekins (Mayor of Wisbech), Victor Lucas (Chair CCS NHS Trust)at the official opening of the North Cambs Hospital Minor Injuries Unit. with Ann Carlisle (right). Also photographed is Eileen Plater of the Friends who has also died recently. - Credit: Archant

The gardens on the town bridge are also in his memory.

Miss Carlisle was educated at Hunmanby Hall near Filey and was chairman of the school’s old girls association.

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She attended secretarial college in London and later worked as a PA for many years.

Miss Carlisle served as mayor in 1981-82.

In 1995 she was elected as Fenland District Councillor for Peckover ward and served on the council until 2007 and was chairman from 2001 to 2004.

She enjoyed the reputation for being a bit of a ‘rebel’ with members of her Conservative party, if she did not like decisions.

She headed a public convenience review team in 2005 when Fenland council was proposing to axe half the public loos.

She took councillors on a tour of all the loos in the market towns and held meetings with neighbouring authorities to look at how they operated and maintained their public toilets.

Among those who served with Miss Carlisle was Councillor David Oliver, leader of Wisbech Town Council.

He said: “She was my co-councillor for Peckover when I joined the town council and I actually took over her ward when she retired from Fenland in 2007.

“She was very dedicated and passionate over her adopted town of Wisbech - the town was her passion. She took her role very seriously. “One of the things people will remember her for was the vase of flowers she used to put in the ladies toilets at St Peter’s car park during Rose Fair.

“She would set up a little table and change the flowers every day during Rose Fair week; she thought it was a nice touch for visitors coming to the town.”

Councillor Jan French remembers Miss Carlisle when they served on Fenland’s planning committee 15 years ago.

Cllr French, who was chairman, said: “Our meetings used to be in the evenings and if they went on late I remember Ann leaving early to ensure she was back in Wisbech by 10pm to lock the public loos.

“Apparently the council wanted to close them at 6pm because there was no one else to do it at 10pm. Ann wanted them to remain open so volunteered for the job.”

Cllr French added: “There were many things I remember with fondness about Ann, particularly being for a real stickler for grammar and for spelling.

“She also regularly criticised poorly written council reports and wasn’t afraid to say so.”

Miss Carlisle will also be remembered by those who attended the Isle College where she taught English there for many years.

Richard Barnwell, former county council and deputy lord lieutenant, and High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire from 2011 to 2012, was a close friend.

He will be giving the eulogy at her memorial service on Friday November 4. The service will follow a private family cremation at Mintlyn earlier in the day.

Mr Barnwell said: “She was very passionate about Wisbech. Because she never married her time was her own and she used it to do a lot of good works in the town.

“She was a hardworking member of lots of organisations and did a lot of things that people may not have realised.

“She used to fill the water trough on Harecroft Road with flowers every summer for the In-Bloom and she would keep an eye on the Carlisle Memorial Gardens on the Town Bridge.”

Miss Carlisle spent most of life in her house on North Brink but after her retirement from council service she moved to Norfolk for a couple of years before returning to Wisbech.

Sadly she suffered from dementia in recent years and was living in a care home where she died in the early hours of Wednesday.

The flag at Fenland Hall will be flying at half-mast at Fenland Hall in her honour and memory until her funeral.

On the Wisbech Town Council website it says today: “It is with a heavy heart we hear of the death of Anne Carlisle who loved and cherished her adopted town of Wisbech.”