Tributes paid to ‘trailblazer for women’ and longest serving Northamptonshire County Councillor who has died aged 87

The councillor spent much of her life helping to provide women with opportunities that she was had

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 5:00 am
Gina King passed away on earlier this month.
Gina King passed away on earlier this month.

A woman who was heavily involved in Northamptonshire politics and has been described as a ‘trailblazer for women’ has died at the age of 87.

Gina King, formerly Ogden, dedicated most of her life to providing opportunities to others through her voluntary work and involvement in local politics.

The mother-of-four, who lived in Hellidon for the last 35 years of her life, first became a Northamptonshire County Councillor in 1967 and continued until 2013.

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Gina was chair for the county council for two years between 2005 and 2007.

To this day, Gina is still the longest serving councillor in the county with a huge 46-year stint and is even one of the longest serving councillors in the whole country.

As part of her council duties, Gina served on the county’s education committee for 25 years - as chair for six of those - was deputy chair of the social services scrutiny committee, sat on the Daventry area committee and was chair of the whole county council from 2005 to 2007.

During her life, Gina also completed volunteer work, including at St Andrew’s Hospital and for sight loss charity, Fight for Sight.

Earlier this month (March 11), Gina died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 87, so her son is now paying tribute to his hard working and change-evoking mother.

Gina with husband Michael.

Jeremy Ogden said: “My parents got married in London when my mum was 21 and then my dad got a job in insurance in Northampton a short while after.

“Mum settled into married life and raising a family, but then she decided that she needed to get on with something.

“She started as a commissioner for the Girl Guides and then began her work with the County Council.

“She really was a trailblazer for women as she was from a generation whereby she had brothers who had jobs but she was supposed to get married and have children.

Gina with her family after being awarded an honoury fellowship from the University of Northampton.

“Mum really supported women, was feisty in that support and tried to give them opportunities that she did not have as a woman.”

Jeremy recalls that during his mother’s time at the head of the education committee she was able to appoint more women to headteacher roles in secondary schools.

In 1991, Gina gained a Masters of Arts in Women’s Studies in the same year that she was awarded an OBE for her work in local politics.

Further recognition was also granted in 2010 when Gina was given an honorary fellowship from the University of Northampton.

Despite her long list of commitments, family was always a huge part of the grandmother-of-six’s life.

Jeremy added: “She was a very devoted mother and she very much pushed us to get on.

“She wanted us to do things and she was always interested in what we and the grandchildren were up to.

“She may not have always agreed, but she took an interest and offered advice as and when it was needed.”

Since her death, the family has received many messages about Gina and her work, including admiration for her ‘frankness’, recollections that she was ‘a force of good’, that she ‘lived every moment with enthusiasm’ and that she was ‘always full of ideas and suggestions’.

Cllr Matt Golby, leader of Northamptonshire County Council, added: “Everyone at the county council is greatly saddened at the news of Gina’s passing.

“Gina was first elected in 1967 and was a terrifically hard working person who put her residents at the centre of everything she did.

“Our thoughts are with her family at what must be a tremendously hard time for them.”

Gina is survived by her husband Michael King, two brothers, four children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild who she only ever met virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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