A FORMER mayor of Blandford who has been described as a "tireless campaigner" passed away suddenly from meningitis, an inquest heard.

Esme Butler was also a serving councillor for Blandford Town Council and North Dorset District Council at the time of her death.

An inquest, which was opened at Bournemouth Town Hall on Wednesday (Aug 16), heard that Mrs Butler collapsed at home on May 15 this year and was rushed to Poole Hospital A&E.

While at the hospital she failed to respond to treatment then went into cardiac arrest. She passed away less than 24 hours after admission to the hospital on May 17. She was just 61-years-old.

The inquest heard that the cause of her death has been provisionally recorded as meningitis.

Assistant coroner Brendan Allen adjourned the inquest until February 14 next year and has asked for statements from Mrs Butler's GP and family as well as reports from Poole Hospital.

Mrs Butler had been a town councillor in Blandford for 18 years and served as mayor of the town on four occasions - 2002, 2005, 2010 and 2011.

A statement on the Blandford Forum Facebook page said: "Esme was a towering strength in our community and a tireless campaigner for the people of Blandford.

"She was involved in so many different groups and organisations and her invaluable contribution to the Charter 400 celebrations, the Olympic Torch event, the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, the 14 to 18 commemorative group, and the Corn Exchange project are just a small example of what she worked so passionately for.

"Her presence and enthusiasm will be greatly missed."

Those paying tribute remembered her work for her community, describing her as Blandford's greatest ambassador, a good neighbour and friend, and an inspiration to all the people of the town.

She leaves behind her husband Dave, and daughters Claire, Jane and Hayley.