Tonbridge community legend Janice Browne dies at 85
by Andy Tong | 16th May 2019
TONBRIDGE & Malling Borough Council and local bodies have paid tribute to the former Mayor and councillor Janice Browne, who has died aged 85.
Miss Browne was a Conservative member of the council’s predecessor, the Tonbridge Urban District Council, from 1970.
She continued to serve with Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council [TMBC] until 2007, representing Higham and Castle wards.
She was appointed Mayor in 1984-85, and was made a Freeman of the borough when she retired from her public duties after 37 years.
Born in south London in 1934, she was evacuated to Cumbria during the Second World War. She returned to study at Haberdasher’s Aske in New Cross after the war ended.
After leaving the grammar school she worked for London County Council before moving into the financial sector as a pioneering woman.
She was also a ground-breaking figure in other ways, ushering in the use of computer systems in the City of London, and she rose through the ranks to become deputy principal of the Bank of England.
She moved to Dry Hill Park Road in 1968 and specialised in planning, chairing TMBC’s Housing Committee and then the Development, Planning and Transportation Committee.
The town’s Civic Society appointed her as their ‘planning expert’ and its chair Diane Huntingford told the Times: “Janice’s planning knowledge was phenomenal, her memory more so. She served the Society for many years as a member of the Executive Committee.
“She will be sadly missed by all those who came across her. She was a delightful force to be reckoned with in any debate.”
Miss Browne filled a wide variety of other public roles: governor at Hugh Christie secondary school and Woodlands Primary, trustee of Petley and Deakins Almshouse Charity and Town Warden.
The Deputy Mayor, Cllr Jill Anderson said: “Janice served the town of Tonbridge and later the borough for nearly 40 years.
“I remember her as a fierce protagonist for all aspects of the town – particularly Planning and Transportation, where she was a force to be reckoned with at the Area 1 Planning Committee.”
Miss Browne died on April 30 after suffering from cancer and heart disease. She leaves a brother and sister, nephews and nieces.
A memorial service will be held in her honour at St Peter & St Paul’s Parish Church, Tonbridge on Saturday May 25 at 11.30am.