Holy Trinity Church in Skipton was full to capacity on Friday as people said their final farewell to county and district councillor Polly English.

Coun English died on Good Friday, just nine weeks after being diagnosed with secondary cancer.

But her message to family and friends was not to be upset, said her husband Paul.

“She didn’t want people to be upset but to celebrate her life. She wanted a party, for people to drink and dance and know that she will be with them in spirit.”

Mr English, also a Liberal Democrat district councillor, told a packed church that the number of people from all areas of politics and walks of life who had come to her funeral was testament to the respect and friendship they felt for her.

“Polly and I were blessed with those final nine weeks together, which allowed us to say things that not everyone has the opportunity to do “She was adamant that I had a new life ahead of me. She wanted me to move on and live my life to the full which I will be able to do because of the strength and support I have received from so many people.”

Mrs English, who lived in Skipton for 20 years, battled with breast cancer six years ago.

Dave Parker, Skipton Town Council chief officer, said an example of her character came when he learned of her latest illness.

“Polly said: ‘Dave, this changes nothing. I don’t want people to pussyfoot around wondering what to say, so let’s shut up and get on with it’.”

He described her as a “champion of Skipton, Craven and North Yorkshire” who fought strongly on many issues, was committed to many sectors of the community and was a strong voice in the corridors of power where she would be sorely missed.

Skipton MP Julian Smith said Polly was a great advert for what a local politician should be in that she was able to show great passion about issues but always remain herself.

Addresses were also given by Coun Bernard Bateman, chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, and Edward McMillan-Scott, MEP for Yorkshire and Humber.

Messages of sympathy also came from Skipton’s twin towns of Simbach in Germany and Erquinghem-Lys in France.