Tributes paid to Crawley’s first woman mayor

June and Ben Clay pictured in 2009
June and Ben Clay pictured in 2009

Tributes have been paid to Crawley’s first woman mayor who ‘helped to shape the town’.

June Clay, a former councillor who represented Gossops Green and Northgate for 25 years and mayor of Crawley from 1977-78, has died at the age of 86.

Her husband of 66 years Ben Clay, Crawley’s first mayor, died in May this year.

Cllr John Stanley told the Crawley Observer of his ‘sadness’ at her death.

He said: “June was a great lady, full of fun and a hardworking councillor and mayor.

“I had the great pleasure of being her late husband Ben Clay’s deputy mayor and June was always on hand to offer help and advice to me in the role.

“This year has not been good to our local Labour movement with the loss of dear Bert Crane, Ben Clay, Dennis Malt and now June Clay but our town will always, I hope, remember these giants who helped shaped our town today for the years ahead.

“Rest in peace June, it was an honour to be a friend and comrade of yours.”

June and Ben met at a dance in south London in 1948 and married the following year. In 1953, the couple moved to Crawley.

The pair had three children, Di, Sue and John, eight grandchildren and more than 20 great-grandchildren, and celebrated their diamond anniversary in 2009.

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