TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Lord Mayor of Oxford who died last night.

Maureen Christian passed away at the John Radcliffe Hospital following a short illness.

The Labour city councillor, who represented Headington Hill and Northway, was the city’s mayor between May 2000 and May 2001.

Colin Cook, Labour councillor for Jericho and Osney, said: “Maureen must have been in her 80s but she didn’t like to tell anyone how old she was.

“Various people in the Labour group knew she was ill and had been to visit her in hospital. This has come as a bit of a shock.

“She was always a dogged fighter for people in her ward, and if she did have a difference of opinion with a rival councillor she would always be friends with them afterwards.”

Littlemore councillor John Tanner said: “It is very sad. I understand Maureen had a lung infection and was in intensive care at the John Radcliffe where she died peacefully in her sleep last night.

“She was a great champion of human rights and a great champion of Oxford and the people of Oxford.”