'Youngest councillor' dies suddenly aged 21


Clarissa SladeImage copyright
Mid Devon District Council

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Clarissa Slade was first elected to Mid Devon District Council in 2015

A woman who was thought to be Britain’s youngest local councillor when she was elected has died suddenly.

Clarissa Slade, 21, was elected in 2015, when she was 18, to represent Tiverton as a Conservative councillor on Mid Devon District Council.

She was found at her home in Winchester, where she is going to university, by her housemate.

Her father, Colin Slade, said he was “devastated” by the loss of his daughter who “had much more to give”.

It is not yet known what caused her death, Mr Slade said he was “in the dark”.

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He said: “It is tragic her life has been cut so short. She said her long term ambition was to be prime minister – who knows what she could have achieved.

“She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”

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A spokesperson for the University of Winchester said: “We are deeply saddened by her death and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”

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Facebook/Clarissa Slade

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Clarissa Slade met Prime Minister Theresa May in November 2016

At the time of her election Miss Slade said she believed this made her the youngest councillor in the country.

Council leader Clive Eginton said: “Clarissa had an endearing personality to all those who knew her well.”

Councillor Clarissa Slade

  • Clarissa Slade received 1,021 votes for the Cranmore Ward in the 2015 election, which had a turnout of 61.9%
  • She had a 64% attendance record for council meetings
  • The final council meeting she attended was on 21 February
  • Ms Slade was on the Grand Western Canal Joint Advisory Committee, which looks after the upkeep of the waterway
  • She was also on the Tiverton Adventure Playground Committee

Stephen Walford, Mid Devon Council’s chief executive, said: ‘This is clearly a great shock to everyone at the council and will affect all those who worked with Clarissa.

“Clarissa’s parents, who are both serving councillors here at Mid Devon, will be devastated by this news and we will be supporting them in any way we can.”

North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones tweeted: “I knew Clarissa well. She was hardworking and always so upbeat, and had a bright future. Such a sad day.”

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Facebook/Clarissa Slade

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Clarissa Slade also met Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in the summer of 2016

Miss Slade was a student at the University of Winchester, having been offered a place to read Classical Studies in 2015.

She told the council at the time that she had “no intention” of resigning and that she “remained committed” to serving the people of her ward.

Mr Eginton said: “As our youngest-ever elected councillor, Clarissa worked hard for her residents in Cranmore ward.”

Kevin Foster, Conservative MP for Torbay, paid tribute to Miss Slade in a post on Twitter.

He said he was “shocked and deeply saddened to read of Clarissa’s death at only 21. My thoughts and prayers are with her family”.

A book of condolence has been opened at Mid Devon District Council’s offices in Tiverton.



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