Tributes have been paid to a former Crawley borough councillor who has died.
Rianna Humble, who served on the council for 10 years as Robert Hull, passed away on Friday (January 4), aged 62.
Rianna, who was described by friends as ‘incredible’ and ‘inspirational’ was praised by council leader Peter Lamb for her efforts to raise trans awareness in the town.
He said Rianna was ‘a valued comrade’, adding: “She has left behind her a proud legacy of service to our town, both in her decade on the council and the community activism which stretched before and after.
“The way she bravely worked to raise trans awareness in Crawley in recent years should be particularly admired.
“Our thoughts are with her friends and family at this difficult time.”
Councillors at a town hall meeting on Monday night stood to observe a minute’s silence for their former colleague.
Duncan Crow, leader of the Conservatives, said he was ‘shocked and saddened’ to hear about Rianna’s death.
He added: “Several of us in the Conservative Group remember Rianna’s time as a councillor including as cabinet member for continuous improvement.
“We always found Rianna friendly and approachable as well as being a very dedicated councillor.
“We offer our condolences to Rianna’s family, friends and colleagues.”
A gently spoken person, Rianna introduced herself to Crawley in August 2010, at the age of 54, having known since the age of seven that she was ‘in the wrong body’.
In an interview with the Crawley Observer at the time, she said: “I definitely have no regrets about living now as the person I should always have been; regrets about not doing it sooner don’t serve any useful purpose.”
She joined a campaign group called LGBT Labour, acting as Trans Officer and working for equal human rights for transgender people, before going on to work for Disability Pride Brighton.
Rianna served as councillor for West Green from September 2000 until May 2010.
She was cabinet member for continuous improvement and development for two years, and also served on the licensing, planning and performance monitoring committees.
Brenda Smith, cabinet member for community engagement and public protection, said: “I and my colleagues are very sad to hear of Rianna’s untimely death.
“She was a councillor for a long time and a much respected member and colleague. Our thoughts are with her family.”