Former MP and seniors campaigner Louise Jackson has died.

The 83-year-old suffered a head injury on Boxing Day and passed away in hospital this afternoon surrounded by her family.

The former teacher’s death came just days after she was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honour’s List.

Her daughter, Susan Jackson, told the Bermuda Sun that her family had been left devastated by her mother’s sudden death.

She added: “There are such mixed emotions for us as a family at the moment.

“They have gone from the euphoria of her receiving the OBE to devastation at her sudden and unexpected death.

“There is still such an immeasurable sense of pride in what she achieved in her lifetime and also in receiving the OBE.

“The OBE really was a pinnacle achievement in her life.

“She was an energetic and vivacious woman who touched so many people’s lives.

“Words can not even begin to describe the void that she will leave.

“She was the centre of our family.

“I believe she will be remembered as a fond memory for everyone especially the children that she taught and the adults she worked with through dance and the arts.

“I hope people can just think about their fond memories of her at this time and hold on to them.”

Mrs Jackson herself described receiving the OBE as an ‘unforgettable moment’.

She added: ‘The anticipation and excitement receiving an official call from the Governor was an unforgettable moment.

“Hearing him deliver the message on behalf of the Queen filled me with pride. “Keeping the Honour a secret has been extremely difficult, but I held this news in strictest confidence.

“I’m so excited I can now share with everybody.”

Mrs Jackson worked as a teacher for most of her life, but balanced her career with her political commitments as an MP as well as a prominent role in the island’s arts world.

She was also the founder of the National Dance Theatre of Bermuda.

Mrs Jackson was elected to Parliament under the old United Bermuda Party in 2003.
The mother-of-two was a tireless campaigner for seniors and continued to remain active in public life after she stepped down as an MP in December 2012.


Statement by Governor George Fergusson

“I was deeply shocked to hear that Mrs Jackson was so seriously unwell, followed so quickly by the news of her death. In my relatively short time knowing her, I had come like so many others very much to enjoy her company, to heed her wisdom and to appreciate her enormous dedication to the people of Bermuda.

“While her political commitments were clear, she had close friends – and relations - across every divide, reinforced by her teaching background. I appreciated her continuing commitment to public service in agreeing last year to join the Security and Defence Review. And I am delighted that before she died Mrs Jackson knew of Her Majesty’s additional recognition of her service in the award of an OBE.”


Statement by Premier Craig Cannonier

It is with profound sense of sadness, shock and loss that we learned of the passing this afternoon of our colleague and friend, Mrs. Louise Jackson, JP, OBE.

Mrs. Jackson was a teacher of children, a defender of the elderly and an entrepreneur who used her love of dance to build the arts across Bermuda. She was also a political colleague of singular character and integrity who gave voice to the weak, the infirm and the forgotten.

Mrs. Jackson was passionate about Bermuda, and the life she led made the Island a better place. She was an ally to all who needed fair hearing, and she was fearless in the fight. No one took on the powers-that-be better than Louise Jackson. Her passion for justice, fair treatment and truth made her a shining star in the community across many years.

As her one-time colleague, I can say that Mrs. Jackson’s example continues to inspire. I will miss her sense of humour, her sense of fun and her fighting spirit. We have lost an amazing women.

On behalf of my colleagues, I express our deepest condolences to Mrs. Jackson’s family, including daughter Susan who succeeded her mother as Member of Parliament. I know they are proud of her, of the way she lived and what she  accomplished.

May she rest in peace.


Statement by OBA Chairman Thad Hollis

 

I am deeply sorry to hear of the passing of Mrs Louise Jackson, only the day after Her Majesty the Queen made her an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.  I can speak for the whole of the One Bermuda Alliance when I say we have lost one of our best-loved members, and Bermuda has lost one of its most valued and cherished citizens. 

Mrs Jackson was a key member of the One Bermuda Alliance team that fought and won the last election.

Her feisty and tireless work on behalf of seniors – the OBA made the plight of seniors one of the major planks in its election platform – won her friends and admirers all over Bermuda, regardless of political affiliation.  In Parliament, she was an eloquent champion of seniors and those she felt were at a disadvantage, especially in health matters.  She had an elegance and air of authority about her that put her opponents at an immediate disadvantage in trying to argue against her.

Her effectiveness as an advocate was cited as the reason she was given an OBE.

She retired from politics after the election, but kept in close touch with her many friends in the OBA.  Her daughter, Susan, now represents the OBA in Constituency 20, Pembroke South West.



Statement by Acting PLP Leader Derrick Burgess

The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party today joins the people of Bermuda in mourning former MP Louise Jackson OBE.

Mrs. Jackson's contribution to issues surrounding seniors and her unswerving commitment to her constituents will be honoured and remembered always.

To the family of Mrs. Jackson we wish to express our condolences and support


Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood to His Excellency the Governor, George Fergusson:

From: Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Matheson of Matheson, yr., LVO

3rd January 2014

Dear Mr. Fergusson,

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death, following a tragic accident, of Mrs. Louise Jackson, whose promotion to be an Officer of the Most Honourable Order of the British Empire was announced in The Queen’s New Year Honours.

Mrs. Jackson’s work as a Member of the Parliament of Bermuda, and her service in connection with healthcare and provision for the elderly, has been valued by many; she will be greatly missed.

May I, on behalf of Her Majesty, Sovereign of the Order of the British Empire, send sincere sympathy to Mrs. Jackson’s family and friends in their loss.

Yours sincerely,

Registrar, Order of the British Empire