Veteran Oxford Conservative councillor Janet Todd, who has died at the age of 88, was a fierce defender of her adopted city.

The former Lord Mayor of Oxford began her political career in the city in 1965, and in 2000 planned a comeback at the age of 83 by standing for the Tories in the county council elections, although she was not elected.

She opposed the scrapping of middle schools in Oxford in 2000 and campaigned on a series of issues ranging from old people's homes to city centre pedestrianisation.

A Scot, Janet Todd seemed at first destined for an academic career, with a first-class honours degree in classics from Glasgow University, and another first in classical honour moderations from Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford.

She lectured in classics at several universities, but then met James Maclean Todd, and when he became headmaster at Stowe she decided "I wasn't high-powered enough to bring up children and carry on a career and be a headmaster's wife."

She spent 15 years raising her son and daughter, and gained an inside view of how a school is run.

This information turned out to be useful when she embarked, in the mid-1960s in Oxford, on a career in politics which lasted 32 years.

Her husband had become Oxford Secretary for the Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examination Board and Mrs Todd was elected to the Cherwell ward of the city council, winning the seat from the Liberal Democrats.

Education was the spur when she first stood for the county council in in 1977. Once elected, she lost a fight to keep a middle school open, but succeeded in saving a nursery school.

She also fought successfully for free transport to Roman Catholic schools and on the non-educational front, to keep a giant rubbish crusher from blighting the dreaming spires of Oxford.

She served as Lord Mayor in 1983-1984.

In 1989, Mrs Todd told the Oxford Mail: "I love canvassing. I like meeting people and discovering their problems and, incidentally, hoping to get their vote.

"I don't always succeed but I am very seldom rebuffed."

Her husband, with whom she wrote two books on classical literature, died in December 1988.

Former Conservative city councillor Graham Jones said: "She adopted Oxford as her city and fought very hard for it. It's a sad loss."