A former mayor and mother-of-one has been found dead at her home after telling friends she was struggling to cope during the coronavirus lockdown.
Samantha Dodd proudly served as her hometown mayor following in the family footsteps of her father, who had also been mayor.
The 45-year-old had been an active Conservative councillor for 11 years - but friends raised the alarm when she failed to return their calls and messages for more than 24 hours.
Police arrived at her two-bedroom cottage in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, where they tragically found her body.
Friend Brian Butt, 71, said: "She was lovely and I had messages which caused me concern. I offered help but she politely refused.
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"A little while later she sent me a message in a hearts background saying I am sorry. I am very upset."
Another friend said: "She had some personal difficulties around Christmas but I thought she was over them as she had seemed fine when I had seen her since.
"But she was a very sociable person and always doing stuff so this lockdown period would have been especially hard for her."
Catering company worker Sam was very active politically and worked as a Conservative councillor for more than 10 years.
She proudly followed in her late father Richard's footsteps by serving as Abergavenny mayor in 2012 and welcomed the Olympic Torch relay through the town.
Conservative Welsh Parliament member Nick Ramsay said he and his wife Jen were close friends with Sam and socialised together regularly.
He said: "I last saw Sam about 10 days ago when she arrived at my house to deliver food from her catering company.
"She poked her head out of the van window and we had a good chat. There was nothing to indicate there was anything wrong."
He added: "Sam was one of a kind; warm-hearted generous and full of life.
"When she joined the party she was a breath of fresh air.
“She was for many years dedicated to her local community, following in her late father’s footsteps as a town councillor and then later as Mayor of Abergavenny.
“As well as being a political colleague, Sam became a friend to my wife Jen and I over the years.
“Sam will be sadly missed, our thoughts are with her family at this time.”
Sam leaves her 15-year-old daughter Megan, brother Martyn, mother Margaret, and grandmother Joyce.
Monmouth MP David Davies said: “I was deeply shocked to hear of the death of Sam Dodd. She was a very active member of the community in Abergavenny and a joy to work with. I certainly counted her as a friend and somebody who could always bring a smile to your face.
“Her death is a tragedy for all of us but most of all her immediate family, and I offer my deepest condolences.”
Current Abergavenny mayor, Tony Konieczny added: “I would like to offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to Sam’s family at this sad time.
“Sam was a hard-working town councillor. Holding the office of mayor is an honour but also a significant time commitment and Sam, together with her mum Margaret as consort, embraced the role with enthusiasm and pride.
“I’m sure many in Abergavenny will have fond memories of Sam.”
A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: "We were called to an address in Trinity Street, Abergavenny, at around 5.05pm on Saturday 30 May, to a report of the sudden death of a woman.
"Paramedics from the Welsh Ambulance Service attended and confirmed that the 45-year-old woman was deceased.
"The death is not being treated as suspicious. The woman’s next of kin and HM Coroner have been informed."
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