Public figures and organisations have paid tribute to the late Lady Jo Benson OBE who was mayor of Salisbury between 1969-1970.

The Journal is asking its readers to contribute any memories or tributes for Lady Benson. To write your tribute, scroll to the bottom of this story and fill in the question.

Read more: Former Salisbury mayor Lady Jo Benson OBE has passed away

The Stars Appeal 

Lady Benson has been remembered for her "passionate" support for the Stars Appeal. 

The Benson Suite, a dedicated, private space for local families who experience the death of a baby at Salisbury District Hospital, was made possible thanks to money donated by Sir Christopher and Lady Benson to the Stars Appeal. 

A spokesperson for the Stars Appeal said: "We are greatly saddened by the news that Lady Benson has passed away. Lady Benson, along with her husband Sir Christopher, was a passionate supporter of the Stars Appeal and the Hospital along with many other important local causes.

"We are so grateful to have known Lady Benson and remember fondly the times we spent with her, especially her visit to the Neonatal Unit which brought such joy to so many new mothers and babies and of course the wonderful day in 2013 when we officially opened and named the Benson Suite in Lady Benson and Sir Christopher’s honour.

The suite provides a private space for families who experience the death of a baby at the hospital to ensure the short amount of time they have with their child is precious, dignified and personal.

The spokesperson added: "The Benson Suite has transformed the care provided to hundreds of families who so tragically lose a baby at birth. We know that the Suite will continue to provide a ‘place of peace’ and help many families over the years to come and we would like to think it forms part of the huge legacy of life changing work that Lady Benson leaves behind.

"Our thoughts are with Sir Christopher and their family at this very difficult time."

Salisbury Journal: Lady Jo Benson was mayor of Salisbury between 1969-1970Lady Jo Benson was mayor of Salisbury between 1969-1970

John Glen MP

John Glen, member of parliament for Salisbury, described Lady Benson as a "trailblazer". In his tribute, he commented: "Jo Benson is rightly beloved in Salisbury for her wonderful charitable work and her important place in our local public life.

"But she was also a real trailblazer, serving as a magistrate and civic leader from a very young age at a time when it was rare for women so to do.

"She commanded the utmost respect and affection wherever she went and her legacy will never be forgotten."

The Jo Benson Day Centre

During Lady Benson's year as mayor, she set up the Jo Benson Day Centre for the Physically Disabled.

The Centre was awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in 2009.

Vice chairman Malcom Hitchings paid tribute on behalf of the trustees, staff, volunteers, and members of the centre. He said: "I would like to firstly express our deepest sympathy to her family.

"Secondly, I would like to pay tribute for the dedication and foresight that Jo had when, with the help of a small number of others, she set up The Jo Benson Day Centre for the Physically Disabled during her mayoral year in 1969/70.

"She recognised the need for continued help for people with physical disabilities after formal treatment and rehabilitation had ended and decided having a Day Centre where people could go to undertake a variety of activities, meet with others, and also give their carers some time for themselves.

Salisbury Journal: Lady Jo Benson in 2007Lady Jo Benson in 2007

"Jo did not however just set up the centre, she continued to be actively involved in its day to day running and fundraising efforts to ensure the centre’s future. The centre continues to this day and its position in the community is as important now as it was earlier.

"Many things have changed over the years since the Centre’s inception in 1970 but throughout Jo has been there and it is with a sad heart that we acknowledge her passing but we also want to remember and give thanks for her devotion, dedication, and support over the years.

"It has been a pleasure, honour, and privilege to have met Jo and to be part of the Centre which will be her legacy for the future. We give thanks for her life, friendship, and all the magnificent work she did."

'A generous person who was everybody's friend'

Robert Key, honorary freeman of the City of Salisbury, who was MP for Salisbury from 1983-2010, wrote: "Jo was a kind, gentle and generous person who was everybody’s friend.

"Her family was very well-known long before she was elected a Salisbury Councillor, then Mayor in 1969 – after which she swiftly became the best-known and best-loved woman in our City.

"In Christopher she found the perfect husband and they reared their family in the house her father had built. They supported each other locally and nationally and they enjoyed the company of a huge circle of friends who will all miss her so much. Jo invited me to take her place as a Trustee of the Almshouse Association – an honour indeed – and she was never too busy to share her advice and wisdom with her local MP.

"In Jo’s Salisbury, everybody counted. She was a tireless campaigner with time for those who needed her. In helping others, Jo was respected and trusted. 

"She was a Christian of deep faith and active commitment. Her family must surely be proud of all she achieved. In Jo, Salisbury has witnessed a life so well-lived that she has set us all a challenging example."

Alabaré Christian Care & Support

Alabaré support homeless, vulnerable and marginalised people in Salisbury. CEO Andrew Lord wrote: "It is so sad to hear of the passing of Lady Benson. She, and her family, have been wonderful supporters of Alabaré and many charities in Salisbury. 

"She will be missed.”

To send your tribute for Lady Jo Benson, please fill out the short question below or email