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Freeman Jenny Powell ‘Passed Away Peacefully’

Published on: 1 Feb, 2023
Updated on: 4 Feb, 2023

Cllr Jen Powell

Hon Freeman Jenny Powell has died. The Dragon NEWS was told “she passed away peacefully yesterday morning. Her son and daughter were with her.”

Jenny Powell was a Conservative borough councillor for many years representing Clandon & Horsley and serving on the Executive as the lead councillor for Culture. She was also chair of the Friends of Guildford Museum.

Cllr Paul Spooner, leader of the Conservative Group at GBC said: “[Our group is] deeply saddened at the passing of the wonderful Freeman and former councillor Jen Powell.

“Her passion for culture, heritage, sport and the arts of Guildford was very special and she made a big difference to the community over very many years. Our thoughts are for her family at this time.

“Jen was recognised for her achievements through unanimous cross-party support when she was nominated and awarded her Freeman status, and the loss of two great Conservative Freemen over recent months is very sad.

See also: Honorary Freeman Andrew Hodges Dies Suddenly

“On a personal level, Jen was a big reason why I became involved in Guildford in Bloom and I am proud to follow in her footsteps in that organisation.”

Jenny Powell after the 2015 ceremony to make her a Freeman of the Borough accompanied by those made Hon Aldermen at the same ceremony. From left: Nick Sutcliffe; Sarah Creedy; Jen Powell; the Mayor of Guildford, Nikki Nelson-Smith; and Terence Patrick.

Sir Paul Beresford, the MP for Mole Valley (the Clandon & Horsley ward sat within the Mole Valley Parliamentary constituency) told The Dragon: “The loss of Jen Powell is deeply sad. She was a very effective GBC Councillor but one with a warm heart.

“There are many people that she helped over the years who will also be very saddened.”

“Jen” Powell was first elected to the GBC in 1987, representing the Clandon and Horsley ward and was elected Mayor of Guildford in 2001-2002.  

The Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Dennis Booth, said: “I was deeply saddened to hear that Honorary Freeman Jennifer Powell had passed away peacefully this morning. Our thoughts are with her daughter Debbie, her son Graeme, and all of her family, including six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“Jen served Guildford Borough Council for 28 years and was a busy and very popular Mayor during her year of office in 2001/2002.  As an Honorary Freeman of the Borough Jen continued to support council and community events, with her usual good humour and enthusiasm for all things ‘Guildford’.  

“She was much loved amongst council colleagues and will be greatly missed.” 

The Hon Freeman served on the Executive for nine years with the following portfolio responsibilities:  

People and Partnership: 2003-2009;Culture and Heritage: 2010-11; Culture and Leisure: 2011-12; and Sport, Leisure and Culture: 2012-13 

Ms Powell served on many Council committees, including: Arts & Recreation Committee in 1994-95; Arts & Recreation Committee from 1991 to 1994; Policy Panel (Leisure) in 2003-04; and was one of the designated Licensing Sub-Committee chairmen in 2006-07 and 2010-11. 

She also served on a myriad of external bodies and organisations as the council’s representative, including: 

Age Concern (Surrey) 2005-2011; Area Museums Service for South East England Executive Council (Surrey District Councils Association Rep) 1990-1994; Ash Manor School Joint Committee (Dual use of Sports Facilities) 1991-1995; SCC Guildford Local Committee 2002-03; South East Arts General Advisory Council 1998-2000; South East England Tourist Board Executive Committee 1990-1995; Surrey Museums Consultative Committee 1991-2001, 2003-2015; Tourism South East 2005-2015; and the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Trust 2006-2015 

 On 3 November 2015, Jen was made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough. This was in recognition of her long and distinguished service to the Borough of Guildford. 

Details of arrangements for Jen’s memorial will be announced shortly. 

Brian Creese, chair, of Guildford Labour said: “Our party says goodbye to Jenny Powell with respect and thanks for her years of service in the borough. Daniel Symonds, representing the Labour Party in Clandon and Horsley, said, ‘Friends and colleagues across the political spectrum will recognise Jenny as an important figure in village politics and celebrate what she achieved as our councillor.’”

Dragon editor Martin Giles said. “This is sad news. Cllr Powell, a very proud Welshwoman, dutifully served this borough for many years and was widely respected.

“She was an intelligent and articulate councillor with a good sense of humour who would sometimes tease me for my poor pronunciation of Welsh place names and for “stealing” the Welsh national emblem for the title of our online newspaper. She will be missed.”


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Responses to Freeman Jenny Powell ‘Passed Away Peacefully’

  1. Pauline Searle Reply

    January 31, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    How sad, a very lovely lady liked by all that knew her.

    She was always happy to help and share her many interests, especially in the Arts, Leisure and Heritage, with great knowledge and enthusiasm.

    Jen had a real passion for Guildford, but as already mentioned, she never forgot her Welsh heritage and would always fly the Welsh flag at every opportunity.

    Jen was a very special person that will certainly be missed.

    We in Guildford were very luck to have had her as a Councillor for so many years.

    Pauline Searle is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Stoughton and former Mayor of Guildford.

  2. Caroline Reeves Reply

    January 31, 2023 at 9:06 pm

    I was saddened to hear today that Jen Powell had died. I knew that her health hadn’t been good, but I remember her as a constant champion of the Arts and Culture in Guildford.

    We had conversations about so many things, often the Museum or Guildford in Bloom. But the constant with Jen was the twinkle in her eye and a readiness to laugh.

    Caroline Reeves is a former Lib Dem leader of Guildford Borough Council.

  3. Shirley West BEM Reply

    February 1, 2023 at 7:13 am

    This is such sad news for Guildford. Jen was a loyal supporter and friend to me, especially to my charity the British Heart Foundation and to my Castle Green Bowls Club.

    I feel blessed that I was with her last year at the cricket and she was still laughing and we were reminiscing abut when she was Mayor of Guildford.

    RIP my dear friend and condolences to your family.

  4. Mel Beynon Reply

    February 1, 2023 at 11:05 am

    Jen was first and foremost a “Taff”. Her birthday even fell on St David’s Day!

    Beyond that, she was the most committed borough councillor one could wish for. Above all, she was devoted to all things West Horsley. Until relatively recently, she was an active member of the West Horsley in Bloom Committee where she not only took an active part in the judging but also in the formal presentation evenings.

    Her twinkling humour was always a joy to share. She will be sorely missed by her many, many friends in the village.

    Diolch o galon am dy gyfeillgarwch gwerthfawr, Jen. Hedd, perffaith hedd.
    (Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your precious friendship, Jen. Peace perfect peace.)

  5. Catherine Young Reply

    February 1, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    When I became a borough councillor for Clandon & Horsley I heard nothing but the highest praise for Jen’s commitment and involvement with our community in West and East Horsley.

    Although I didn’t know her personally, I knew she was unwell. I met her at last year’s West Horsley In Bloom presentation, which she managed to attend, and I was amazed how brave and determined she was to join in and support this event.

    When she retired from local politics a fabulous article was written about her in one of East Horsley’s newsletters, describing her as the ‘Grandmother’ of our council.

    I send my condolences to her family, and to those that were so close to her. Her presence in West Horsley will be sorely missed, she was our own local treasure.

    Catherine Young is a Guildford Greenbelt Group borough councillor for Clandon & Horsley

  6. Jim Miles Reply

    February 1, 2023 at 8:42 pm

    As the GBC director responsible for Leisure and Cultural Services (1996 – 2012) Jen Powell was always extremely supportive – especially on arts and museum matters.

    One thing that, against some opposition, we persuaded the council to contribute to was £50,000 towards the major development work at Watts gallery which was a key element in unlocking £4.3 million of Lottery funding for the scheme.

    Jen was one of the three Councillors in my time who gave critical support to the arts during my time – the other two being Auriol Earle and Lynda Strudwick.

    Jen was always a delight to work with. The arts in Guildford will be much diminished by her passing.

  7. Simon May Reply

    February 4, 2023 at 10:25 am

    My wife and I were deeply saddened to hear that Jenny passed away this week. Her ever generous contribution to the local community was made in so many different ways and we always enjoyed our warm conversations with her either at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre or on other cultural occasions.

    We send our condolences to her family and close friends.

  8. Wendy Rose Reply

    February 6, 2023 at 11:56 am

    Ah, how very sad. Jenny was the first chair of the Surrey Museums Consultative Committee in 1991 and I was the first countywide museums officer at the same time. She served on SMCC for over 20 years I think.

    I was thinking about her on Tuesday last week and wondering if she was still a councillor. That thought prompted me to Google her name and that’s how I found out that she had died.

    She really loved the museums in the county and was such a knowledgeable and enthusiastic advocate for all things culture and heritage. She was a delight for me to work with, hugely able and with a fabulous sense of humour.

  9. Wendy Rumble Reply

    February 12, 2023 at 12:42 pm

    Dear Jen, she was a friend for 50 years.

    Always cheerful and caring, she leaves a huge void. She is now at peace after a very stressful year or more battling health issues.

    A very sad loss to all her friends.

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