JEAN Fooks was one of Oxford’s most formidable politicians, gaining respect from across the political divide during more than half a century of service.

From her first election to Oxford City Council in 1992 to her term as Lord Mayor in 2017/18, Mrs Fooks remained fiercely committed to the city.

She was kind and courteous but always stood up for what she believed in and was Liberal Democrat group leader from 2012 to 2016.

Mrs Fooks died seven months into her retirement and just two days after she was made an honorary alderwoman of the city.

She will be greatly missed by her family, friends, councillors, officers and the residents she served.

Jean Fooks was born in Reading in 1939.

She grew up in Reading and Bath, before studying physics at Somerville College, Oxford, from 1958 to 1961.

She remained close to the college, which still hosts an annual lecture in memory of her daughter Monica, who died in 1994.

Mrs Fooks worked at the Radio and Space Research Station, near Slough, and later the European Space Data Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

She also taught maths and physics, moving to Oxfordshire in 1982 to take up a job in data analysis for the NHS, covering mental and physical health records, leukaemia, and the problems faced by premature babies.

In May 1992, Mrs Fooks was first elected to the City Council, representing North Ward until boundary changes in 2006.

That year, she became a school governor, while she also contributed to organisations such as the Cutteslowe Community Association, Wolvercote Young People’s Club and the city's twinning link with Bonn in Germany.

In 1997, she retired to work in politics full-time, and helped push through the then-radical plan of removing buses from Cornmarket Street and Queen Street while working on the Oxford Transport Strategy.

The former was pedestrianised in 1999 and restrictions on buses were placed on Queen Street.

Traffic, ethical and enviromental issues were close to her heart and Mrs Fooks chaired the city council's Highways and Traffic Committee from 2000 to 2001 and the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee from 2001 to 2004.

In 2001, she lost her job on the highways committee after opposing an increase in park-and-ride fees from 50p to £1 following pressure ‘bordering on the intolerable’, according to The Oxford Mail.

Mrs Fooks also served on Oxfordshire County Council for 16 years from 2001, representing Oxford Cherwell Division, Summertown & Wolvercote, and Wolvercote & Summertown.

For 12 years from 2006, Mrs Fooks represented Summertown Ward for the City Council.

In 2007, she resisted calls to change controversial plans on fortnightly wheelie bin collections introduced when she was the council’s executive member for a cleaner city.

She believed Cutteslowe was overlooked, despite being one of Oxford’s most deprived areas, and made a real impact on the area, including setting up a community bus service and saving the local children's centre from closure.

Mrs Fooks was Sheriff of Oxford in 2011/12 and turned down several offers to become Lord Mayor, finally taking the role in May 2017.

She championed several causes such as Children in Care, even attending a lunch for care leaders on Christmas Day 2017.

Mrs Fooks was an inspiration, with schoolchildren entranced by someone who had been a high-flying scientist and her city’s first citizen.

After ending her mayoral term, she moved to Dulverton, Somerset.

On Monday, November 26, she was invested as an honorary alderwoman, which was collected on her behalf by former Liberal Democrat colleague Stephen Brown at Oxford Town Hall.

Mrs Fooks died on Wednesday, November 28, after a short illness.

She is survived by one daughter, Carolyn, and two grandchildren.

Her funeral will be on Saturday, December 15 at 1 pm at All Saints’ Church, Dulverton, Somerset.

There will be a preference for coloured clothes, flowers are welcome, and donations will be split between the Dulverton & District Young People's Project and the City of Oxford Charity Ltd.