On Monday, 23rd February 2004, local Town and Borough Councillor, Richard Davies died of a suspected heart attack. He was 65.
Many tributes have been written in the several days since his death. One newspaper headline aptly described him as a ‘dedicated and caring councillor’.
He was a friend to many who live in Wivenhoe. Born in Treorchy, in Wales, his Welsh lilt was familiar to a lot of people. At the age of 14 he went down the mines but after a few years he joined the 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment and served in Aden and Cyprus amongst other places.
Following 14 years in the army, he bought a house in Shrub End with his wife, Margaret, and started a family of three boys. He and Margaret had been married for 41 years.
22 years ago he came to Wivenhoe. By then he had joined what was then British Rail as an electrical engineer and rose to a position of Chief Electrical Engineer. His last job before retirement was working on the Channel Tunnel.
In 1995 he was elected onto Wivenhoe Town Council and became Town Mayor for the year 2000-1. In May 2002 he was elected as an Independent Borough Councillor for Wivenhoe Quay Ward as well as remaining a Town Councillor.
He had been involved with various local organisations including the Royal British Legion, Congregational Scouts, Stuart Pawsey Court and Wivenhoe Allotment and Gardens Association.
Over the last year he had been actively participating in discussions about a new Health Centre for Wivenhoe. And before that worked closely with me to negotiate a better deal for Wivenhoe out of the Cook’s Shipyard Development.
His funeral took place in St Mary’s Church on Tuesday, 2nd March, 2004, and the Church was packed.
Donations rather than flowers have been requested by the family and their chosen causes are St Mary’s Organ Fund or Wivenhoe Communty Bus. Donations can be sent to Wivenhoe Town Council, Council Offices, 77 High Street, Wivenhoe CO7 9AB.
He will be greatly missed by all his friends and colleagues. He was always jovial and willing to do anything for anybody. He was an active a Councillor and was involved in many projects over his years on Wivenhoe Town Council, as well as raising thousands of pounds for local causes. He was ‘down to earth’ describing himself regularly as a ‘nuts and bolts’ man. His time and efforts to progress plans for a new Health Centre was especially appreciated by everybody involved in that project. His early passing is a great loss to us all.
Cllr Peter Hill, Deputy Town Mayor
[Note: by mid-March, �622 had been raised for the Communty Bus and �467 for the Organ Fund in his memory. Contributions are still welcome and can be sent to Wivenhoe Town Council.]
A special tribute to Richard Davies by Cllr Gilli Primrose, Wivenhoe Town Mayor:
It was with great sadness that we heard on Monday 23rd February that our dear friend and colleague, Councillor Richard Davies, collapsed and died on his way to his beloved allotment.
Richard was not only a valued colleague, as a Town Councillor and Borough Councillor, but also a special friend. He stood as an Independent, like me, and my first real contact with him was when we met at a pre-election gathering, to see how we could help each other win our places on the Town Council. At that meeting I was struck with the kindness and strength of this big man with the lovely lilting accent.
I was not to be disappointed in the years to come, as Richard supported and helped me become a Town Councillor and, lately, Mayor. As well as the enormous amount of work Richard put in for normal council work, he and Margaret were always there to help with any fund raising project, as part of the very small team who manage to set everything up (and clear away afterwards), and without whom none of these events would be able to take place.
As Richard was retired, he was often available to attend site meetings and meetings with Borough that invariably took place during the day. He, therefore, became involved in most of the big projects, and his input (as a down-to-earth engineer) was invaluable to the Town Council. Many is the time that I have asked him to take a look at something causing concern, or attend a meeting on my behalf, and he has reported back with a viewpoint that is sound, and not couched in �council-speak�.
Richard was a familiar sight around the Town on his bicycle, and was perceived by locals as a very approachable man, who would always stop and listen to you, and then get something done! This ability to keep in touch with ordinary people was one of his great talents, and it is in this that he will be greatly missed by so many.
When Richard took on the role of Borough Councillor, the Town had an energetic and forceful crusader in the Town Hall, bringing his wealth of experience and knowledge to the task. He worked tirelessly for Wivenhoe and its people and it is indicative of this involvement that there has been an enormous, and immediate, response to his death from so many people in the wider community.
His wife, Margaret has asked that there be only family flowers at his funeral at 1.00pm at St Mary�s on Tuesday 2 March, and that anyone wishing to donate, may choose between the Wivenhoe Communty Bus or St Mary�s Church Organ Fund. In this way, even in death, Richard is still helping the community he loved so much, and in which he took such an active part.
Our condolences go to Margaret and the boys, as well as his grandchildren, who will have our support in the months to come. I am sure that I speak for all the councillors and residents of Wivenhoe when I say that we will miss him, and that he will be remembered with great affection for many years to come.
Cllr Gilli Primrose
Wivenhoe Town Mayor
At Richard’s funeral, Betsy Edwards read the following poem. Betsy is Warden at Stuart Pawsey Court, Wivenhoe, for which Richard was Chairman of the Committee. Betsy is a close friend of Richard and Margaret. The author of the poem is Ann Rayner who has very kindly consented for it to published in this way.
But let me like a child return
To Mother’s arms, and let me yearn
To once again believe the song
Of somewhere where I do belong;
To falling rain and sparkling snow,
and in the hearth, the fire aglow;
to all the bells that peal with dawn
throughout our town on Christmas morn;
to all the innocence of youth
and all the searching for the truth;
to all the seasons, bright and grey ,
that made me what I am today;
to joyful laughter, brimming eyes,
to all hellos and all goodbyes!
Of love and hope!
There’s order here,
No need to fear;
It is beyond our ken.
Accept the Scheme
And hold your dream,
For life’s a dance,
A game of chance
We’ll never play again.
So play it well! Be of good voice!
Lift high your heart and so rejoice!
Put on your costume, take the stage,
And play your part from age to age!
Be true to you and true to me,
And what may happen. we shall see.
Let passion soar and kindness reign,
And somehow we shall meet again.
I may be older, somewhat wise,
Yet there’s my soul in younger eyes.
And older ones, they look at me
And sometimes envy what they see.
Continuum of life itself
In family photos on the shelf.
by Ann Rayner