Former Conservative Foreign Secretary and Witney MP Douglas Hurd has paid tribute to his wife Judy, who has died at the age of 58.

Lord Hurd described her as a woman who cared passionately for her friends and family, and worked hard for the community when he was a Member of Parliament.

After leaving school, Lady Hurd, who was born in the Witney area, worked at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London before moving to Westminster as a political secretary.

Lord Hurd said: “That was where we met. Judy worked very hard for two MPs at a time. I was lucky enough to be one of them.”

The couple went on to marry in May 1982, following Lord Hurd’s divorce from his first wife several years before. They went on to have two children together, Philip, now 25, and Jessica, 22. Philip was born only 12 minutes after her husband was re-elected to Parliament in 1983.

Lady Hurd also became a loving stepmother to her husband’s three sons from his first marriage, Nick, Tom and Alexander.

Lord Hurd said: “She was very active in the community in Oxfordshire. She was very genuine with her friendship and kind to people in the constituency — a natural friend. She always had a project on. There was always something to be improved and she always saw a way of doing things better.”

Her local interests included Cogges Manor Farm Museum, where she was a trustee.

She was also a member of the national campaign committee for the Cancer Research Campaign in 1988.

While studying for a history degree at Birkbeck College, London, she was diagnosed with leukaemia. The disease returned again this year and she died at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, on November 22.

She is survived by her husband, their two children, her three stepchildren, and eleven grandchildren.