Former mayor of Medina Borough Council, Ada Leigh, has died at the age of 91, after a lifetime dedicated to her local community.

Ada was born on September 27, 1931, in Portsmouth, the fourth of nine children in an Irish Catholic family. 

One of Ada’s earliest memories was attending football matches with her father, a keen Pompey supporter, and her love of sport, of all sorts, continued for the rest of her life.

She left school at 15 and soon joined the civil service, posted to Reading at 17. She enjoyed her time there, becoming part of the Civil Service South West netball team and athletics squad.

At 21, Ada was transferred to Cowes to work in the Birmingham Road office of the Ministry of Labour.

She soon developed a busy social life and met John Leigh. They were both Catholics and they both loved sports. 

They became engaged in 1953 and were married in June 1955.

Ada continued to work until the arrival of her first child in 1959.

She played tennis and badminton, playing league matches for Cowes Badminton club in the winter and tennis for Medina Tennis club in the summer, both of which clubs she eventually ran for many years until injury forced her to retire in her 50s.

She was proud to be invited to become president of Cowes Sports Football Club and was an enthusiastic supporter.

She also learned to sail with her husband, and the couple remained loyal members of the Island Sailing Club for the rest of their lives.

In 1983, she became a councillor for Medina Borough Council (MBC), and two years later was voted on to the Isle of Wight County Council as well.

She was governor of three schools and was chair of the management committee for Cowes Youth Club and on the committee for IYWAC (Island Youth Water Activities Centre).

With the move from council-owned housing to housing associations, Ada became a founding trustee for two of them.

Isle of Wight County Press: Ada Leigh

In addition, she was a Harbour Commissioner for Cowes, was involved in setting up the Stephen Ross Foundation for the Arts (also known as Quay Arts), and was involved in the North Medina Community Development Trust, the Isle of Wight Society, Plessey Sports Club, Age Concern, Cowes Community Forum, Community Health Council, IW Rural Community Council, Relate and her local church.

How she found the time to do so much was a constant source of amazement, even to her family, but she maintained a high level of attendance at council meetings as well as looking after her family and enjoying a good social life.

In 1990 Ada became Mayor of Medina Borough Council, and held the position for two years. She was honoured to receive Prince Philip at one of her Cowes Week garden parties.

Ada continued to serve in the unitary authority until she lost her seat in 2001.

She later served on Cowes Town Council alongside her husband for a few years, until they both retired in 2008. 

Ada died on September 16, just short of her 92nd birthday.

She leaves behind her children, Jacqueline, John and Richard, and three grandsons.