JOLANTA Lis, who has died aged 70, was a former Mayor of Bicester who devoted her career to helping mental health patients and her latter years to the local community.

Mrs Lis was vice-chairman of Cherwell District Council and worked with the Rotary Club supporting vulnerable children in Africa and India.

She was also heavily involved with St Edberg’s Church and schools across Oxfordshire.

Born in Lodz, Poland, on November 29, 1947, her mother was an accountant and her parents had met during the Second World War.

The family moved to Warsaw when she was young, where she received a good education and, an accomplished pianist, she went to the Polish Academy of Music.

After finishing her education she got a job as an English teacher before going to university.

In 1967 she met her future husband Lars Lis, who was in Warsaw visiting his Polish father, and she worked as his interpreter during his brief stay in the country.

Mr Lis said it was ‘love at first sight’ and the only way the pair could be together – given the tensions between communist Poland and the West – was to get married.

She left university, married Mr Lis in 1970 and moved the Harrow, London, to live with him the following year.

The couple had two children, Susanna in 1973 and Alexander in 1979.

Initially Mrs Lis worked in accountancy, taking up administration roles at a London-based firm.

However she went back to university in 1980 despite juggling motherhood and her job.

She went to Goldsmiths and studied clinical psychology and anthropology, stemming from her love of children and an ambition to go into child psychology.

After getting her degree she began a career working in mental health, first managing a ‘halfway house’ for patients transitioning into independent living.

Following that she moved to a much larger 60-bed care home working for the charity Mind.

The family had moved to Lambeth by this point after she was appointed as manager of all the mental health day car centres in the borough.

At the end of the 1990s she took a job with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, managing mental health for the council.

Her patch included those living in Grenfell Tower and she loved being able to help people.

Having moved to Bicester in 2007, she retired in 2010 but it was far from the end of her involvement in public life and the community.

She instantly become involved with St Edberg’s Church and later the Rotary Club, which saw her travel to India three times to help with polio immunisation and to Africa to support orphans whose parents had died from AIDS.

A friend introduced her to politics and the Conservative Party, and in 2011 she was elected to Bicester Town Council.

She served as the town’s Mayor in 2016/17, attending hundreds of events throughout the year and was also elected to Cherwell District Council the same year.

She was the district council’s vice-chairman in 2017/18 and was due to be chairman this coming year.

Her involvement with the church also saw her become part of its ‘baptist team’ and she sat on the Oxfordshire Schools Forum and was a governor at Bardwell School – a community special school in Bicester.

Aside from her passion for helping people she loved travelling.

Along with her husband Lars, she walked the Great Wall of China, explored the Egyptian pyramids, walked across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, visited the Galapagos Islands and a few months before her death went to the top of the world’s largest building – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

She died on April 13 following a pulmonary embolism and is survived by her husband Lars, her children, Susanna and Alexander, and three grandchildren.