FORMER Swindon mayoress Judith Stoddart has died following a long battle with breast cancer.

Judith, 71, served in the position when her future husband, Peter, was Swindon’s mayor between 2004 and 2005. She spent her last days at Prospect Hospice, in Wroughton, and died on Sunday.

Peter, 75, said: “She was a very caring and considerate person. She was a bit shy at times but once she got going you really couldn’t stop her.”

Judith, who was previously married to John Woodman, had two grown up children, Leanne and Vikki.

She was originally from Cambridgeshire but grew up in Royal Wootton Bassett.

During her career she worked at the NHS, the Research Council and the Learning and Skills Council, where she met Peter, who she married in 2008.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer around 10 years ago.

After a battle with the illness, she overcame it, but suffered a recurrance at the end of 2012.

Peter said: “She had an operation to remove the cancer but unfortunately it came back. We discovered this soon after a Mount Kilimanjaro trek she planned to do in 2012.

“She hurt her back and that was more or less when the cancer was found again. I must emphaise we’ve had great support from the NHS throughout my wife’s illness.

“Prospect Hospice were really good too. It is a fantastic organisation who did so much for my wife. I plan to do something to raise money for them in the coming months.”

Judith embraced her role as mayoress as she enjoyed supporting Swindon’s community, her husband said, and was also a determined fundraiser who was part of the annual Mad March Hare event, which has raised thousands of pounds for the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity.

Peter, who stood down as a councillor in 2012, said: “She was an extremely caring woman who was thrilled to be mayoress.

“She always had the best interests of people at heart.”

Councillors have also paid tribute to Judith following her death.

Coun Derique Montaut (Lab, Liden and Eldene) said: “I’m very saddened to hear this news. She was always by Peter’s side and providing great support to him and the people of Swindon.

“She will be sadly missed by many people.”

Judith’s funeral is taking place at Kingsdown Crematorium at 10am on Thursday, September 11. Anyone wishing to leave donations in Judith’s memory is being asked to give to Prospect Hospice.