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Victoria lowers flag to honour former councillor Helen Hughes

The City of Victoria lowered the flag at City Hall Thursday to half mast to honour former Coun. Helen Hughes, who died last week. Mayor Lisa Helps said it was done appropriately on a Thursday morning.
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Former Victoria city councillor Helen Hughes, when she received a honorary degree from Royal Roads University in 2012. VIA ROYAL ROADS UNIVERSITY

The City of Victoria lowered the flag at City Hall Thursday to half mast to honour former Coun. Helen Hughes, who died last week.

Mayor Lisa Helps said it was done appropriately on a Thursday morning.

“She spent 18 years worth of Thursdays here in these chambers making decisions and working hard on behalf of the residents and the businesses of Victoria,” Helps told council. “She had an indomitable spirit, she was fierce, and she was so kind, and did so much for our community.

“So we take this moment and this day to recognize the passing of Helen Hughes and the tremendous contributions that she has made to our community.”

Helps noted Hughes, first elected to council in 1990, worked tirelessly as a leader and community organizer.

“She cared passionately about youth and worked so hard for and with youth in this community,” said Helps.

Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe, a close friend of Hughes, called her a mentor and role model who remained interested in what was happening in the city until the very end.

“She had a great sense of humor, always a positive attitude, always saw the positive in everything and in people,” said Thornton-Joe. “She loved the city. She wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.”

Thornton-Joe also shared a quote from Margaret Laurence, which she said summed up Hughes’ commitment to service: “[There isn’t] any wisdom except the passionate plea of caring. Try to feel, in your heart’s core, the reality of others.”

Hughes, 89, died last Friday.