TRIBUTES have been paid to former Mayoress of Ealing, Joan Portwood, who died this week.
Mrs Portwood was chosen by her son, Philip, to be his mayoress when he was voted into office as mayor for the millennium year of 1999/2000.
She died on Monday after a short illness.
Mrs Portwood was active in the Ealing community and devoted a lot of her to time working with children.
She founded the Old Oak pre-school playgroup and was one of the pioneers of the Pre-School Playgroups Association (now the Pre-School Learning Alliance).
She was also the lieutenant of a branch of the Girls Brigade and chaired the John Perryn Primary School Parent-Teachers Association in the 1960s. Mrs Portwood also worked for the elderly isolated people of East Acton.
Born in North Kensington in 1922, Joan Gwladys Kenny moved to East Acton in the 1930s when her father was posted to an Army camp at Wormwood Scrubs prison.
She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in the Second World War and served as part of Air Chief Marshall Dowding’s team at Fighter Command where the Battle of Britain was masterminded.
Mrs Portwood died in her sleep at Chestnut Lodge care home in Woodfield Road, Ealing, where she had lived since the death of her husband Bill in February 2010.
The couple were married for 50 years.
Her son Philip said: “We are very sad to have lost our wonderful Mum, but she crammed more good works and good spirit into her 90 years than anyone could ever hope.
“Mum was sustained to the end by her Christian faith and a relentlessly positive attitude that always saw the good in people and their communities.
“She was a great mayoress, a brilliant mum and grandmum, and a glorious, life-affirming person.”
The present Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Mohammed Aslam and last year’s mayor, Councillor John Gallagher, paid tribute to Mrs Portwood on behalf of the council and community at Ealing Council’s meeting on Tuesday.
Mr Gallagher, who was also a friend, said: “Joan was a very gracious and kind person. She was lovely and courteous and a wonderful person to have known.
“She will be greatly missed by the people of East Acton.”
Mr Portwood said that his mother’s sudden death meant that funeral arrangements were still being planned and will be announced shortly.
Mrs Portwood leaves two children and two granddaughters.