HUNDREDS of friends, family and colleagues of councillor Doreen Dart gathered to celebrate her life today.

Fond memories and tributes to the former mayor were heard as part of a Civic Service in her memory, which was conducted by the reverend Simon Stevenette at Christ Church, in Old Town.

The Swindon Town FC fan and dedicated charity fundraiser, who had been a councillor since 1986, died of lung cancer last month at the age of 84.

Council leader Rod Bluh addressed the congregation and said: “In the 48 hours that followed Doreen’s passing, there were tributes and comments flying around on emails and Facebook.

“They fell into two groups. One group was words such as ‘caring, committed and passionate’ and the other group was ‘feisty and challenging’.

“I doubt there is a person that knew Doreen who wouldn’t recognise those qualities in her.

“To me the combination made Doreen the person she was.

“She was a friend and a colleague. She gave me strength when I needed it most.”

Coun Bluh said Doreen was always keen to take part in the council’s committees every year and had no intention of retiring from Swindon Council.

“She had an almost unquenchable thirst for jobs to do. Doreen’s list for the committees she wanted to be on was akin to a shopping list,” he said.

“Once the committees had been announced she always remarked without fail ‘I haven’t got much’, despite the fact her appointments far outweighed everybody else's.

“I once suggested she might like a break from the planning committee. I never made that mistake again.”

The service, which was at noon yesterday, also heard from Swindon Mayor, Mick Bray, who read out a tribute from the Lord Mayor of Swindon’s twin town, Salzgitter in Germany.

There were performances from the Kentwood Choir and readings from Coun Stan Pajak and Coun Jim Grant.

As well as being a long standing councillor, the retired teacher had been on the committee for the Swindon Charity Ball, held at the Marriott Hotel, since the 1980s, and helped to raise more than £600,000.

She was an avid Swindon Town fan and was at the Colchester United match at the County Ground just days before she died.

Nick Watkins, chief executive of Swindon Town Football Club told the congregation about Doreen’s regular attendance at the club and affectionately remembered her feisty side.

A collection was made for the Prospect Hospice after the service.