Tributes have poured in for Dame Cheryl Gillan, whose death on Saturday (April 4) following a long illness has sent shockwaves through the community.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led tributes to the 68-year-old, describing her as a “great servant” to the people of Chesham and Amersham.

Mrs Gillan was made a Dame in the Queen’s New Year Honours in 2018, at the time crediting the honour to her constituents.

Paying tribute to Dame Cheryl, Baroness Emma Pidding, president of the Chesham and Amersham Conservative Association, wrote: “As you may know, Dame Cheryl was very poorly for some time.

“Cheryl bore her illness with great courage and, throughout her illness, continued to serve our constituency with her usual tenacity, diligence, grace and pride.

“This dedication as a Member of Parliament continued right up to her final days, overseeing the safe passage of a private members bill through the Commons only a few weeks ago.”

Baroness Piddington added: “I had the privilege of knowing Cheryl since she was first selected for the constituency of Chesham and Amersham ahead of the 1992 General Election.

“She was a dear friend and a mentor to me.”

ALSO READ: PM leads tributes to Dame Cheryl Gillan following her death

She also said Dame Cheryl “shone as a bright star” and was “held in great affection” by “all sides of the House of Commons.”

She added: “Cheryl will be remembered with considerable fondness and will be greatly missed. Cheryl leaves huge shoes to fill.”

Buckinghamshire Council leader Martin Tett tweeted: “Incredibly sad news. She was a fantastic supporter of the Chilterns and indeed the whole of Buckinghamshire. She will be sorely missed. Commiserations to her family.”

And Wycombe MP Steve Baker wrote: “RIP Dame Cheryl – I will sorely miss my distinguished neighbour.”

Former Aylesbury MP David Lidington described his friend of almost 28 years as a “formidable champion for Chesham & Amersham, and for Buckinghamshire,” adding: “She will be hugely missed. RIP.”

The MP was first elected in 1992 at a time when she said there were very few women in Parliament.

She first held ministerial office in 1995 and became the first female Secretary of State for Wales in 2010, serving her constituency of Chesham and Amersham for almost 30 years.

Buckingham MP Greg Smith described the noted anti-HS2 campaigner as a “huge inspiration”.

He tweeted: “So sad to hear that Dame Cheryl Gillan has passed away.

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“She showed me such kindness when I was elected, a huge inspiration and role model as an MP. She will be greatly missed.

“A huge loss to Parliament, Buckinghamshire and our country. Thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

Sharing a photo of herself with Dame Cheryl, Beaconsfield MP Joy Morrissey tweeted: “I am devastated by the news today that Dame Cheryl Gillan has passed away. I only got to work with her for a short time but she was always an inspiration.

“Hard working and totally dedicated to her constituents, Cheryl was what all MPs should aspire to be.”

Dame Cheryl was responsible for introducing the landmark Autism Act 11 years ago, and in January called for better help for people with autism suffering domestic abuse during lockdown.

Labour MP and shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding Jess Phillips tweeted: “Cheryl was lovely and kind and welcoming. Sending love to her family and friends.

“Autistic families had a real advocate in Cheryl and we will all work to make sure her work is continued.”

A number of BFP readers also paid tribute, with Lee Buckingham writing on Facebook: “Great MP. Lovely Lady.

“Lots of integrity, standing down from her front bench position in government so she could freely fight against HS2.”

While Michael Holt wrote: “Met her once. A very nice and kind lady. Love to the family at this sad time.”

Wildlife campaigner Kaye Brennan tweeted: “Sad to hear this news. As an MP she fought hard to give both her constituents and nature, especially ancient woodlands, a voice against HS2s rampant destruction locally and nationally.

“Always informed and passionate, she made a real impact on the debate.”

And Owen Pugh commented: “This is such a shock. My thoughts to her family at this difficult time. She was one of the most passionate and well-informed politicians I’ve come across in my time.

“A huge loss for the country and parliament.”

ALSO READ: MP celebrating 25 years praises 'fantastic' constituency with 'kind and generous' people

Dame Cheryl was elected at a time when there were only 20 female MPs on Tory benches and around 60 women in Parliament, she told the BFP in 2018.

Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: “The saddest news about the passing of Dame Cheryl Gillan.

“A remarkable parliamentarian and pioneer for many women in Westminster. A dear and compassionate friend and colleague who was much loved by us all.

“My sincere condolences to her family and loved ones.”

And Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wrote: “Very sad to hear that Dame Cheryl Gillan has passed away.

“I worked with Cheryl on a number of issues. She was respected across the House and a great champion for her constituents.

“My thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”

Book of condolences for Dame Cheryl Gillan

"Whether you knew Dame Cheryl and want to share any stories or pictures, or you just want to send your thoughts, this is a space for you to pay tribute. Please know we will moderate content to ensure this remains a respectful space."

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Community contributor

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My deepest condolence a terrible loss and sincerely will be missed To all her family I wish them all the best.

Community contributor

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Very sad. I had corresponded with her and always found her to be very helpful. May she rest in peace.

Martin King

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I am so very sad to learn that my MP in the UK, Dame Cheryl Gillan has passed away. I’d known Cheryl since 1992 when we fought the General Election for Amersham & Chesham. She was amazing – intelligent, joyful, kind, insightful and fierce when needed. Cheryl was my mentor and friend in my political activism and later as Town and District Councillor and Mayor of Amersham. She fought hard for her constituents, of all political persuasions, against HS2 and she was so proud to be the Secretary of State for Wales. It was an honour to have known her and she will be missed. Martin King

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Bucks Free Press: Cheryl Gillion MP and Martin King at the Red Lion, Little Missenden 2014Cheryl Gillion MP and Martin King at the Red Lion, Little Missenden 2014
Cheryl Gillion MP and Martin King at the Red Lion, Little Missenden 2014

Stephanie Spragg

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I met Cheryl Gillan at a Push for Action rally in Parliament in October 2013, championing for better services for autistic people. (I’m the one on the left of the red button in the pink jacket.) Cheryl was a very wise woman who was passionate about the things she championed for. I won’t forget the Push for Action Rally day. Thanks for everything you did, Cheryl. God bless you. 🧩🌈🇬🇧❤️

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Bucks Free Press: Photo taken at the Push for Action rally at Parliament, run by the National Autistic SocietyPhoto taken at the Push for Action rally at Parliament, run by the National Autistic Society
Photo taken at the Push for Action rally at Parliament, run by the National Autistic Society

Christine Cleary

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Extremely sorry to hear of the death of our MP, who has worked tirelessly for our constituency for many years.