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Tributes to long-serving community leader

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Tributes to long-serving community leader

By timesecholife on in All News, Latest News

Tributes have been paid to a well-respected community leader who served his area for more than 40 years. Arthur Forrester, aged 88 of Alton, died last Tuesday (August 25) just weeks after he and his wife Beryl celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on August 6.

Tributes have been paid to a well-respected community leader who served his area for more than 40 years.
Arthur Forrester, aged 88 of Alton, died last Tuesday (August 25) just weeks after he and his wife Beryl celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on August 6. The couple had lived in Alton all their married life.
Mr Forrester was a district councillor for many years and a former deputy leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) where he served as chairman between 1987 and 1988.
He was also a parish councillor for 38 years and a chairman of governors at St Peter’s School in Alton for 30 years and at The Valley school in Oakamoor for 20 years.
Mr Forrester was also a member of the Alton Parochial Church Council for 40 years.
He leaves his wife Beryl, two daughters and a son; six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
During his life he ran a well-known builders and undertakers business from the village.
For his National Service he served in the military police in Berlin.
Mr Forrester worked as a builder before he and his father purchased a small family building and undertaking business in Alton which he ran successfully until he retired 20 years ago.
Mrs Forrester said of her husband: “Arthur enjoyed life and thoroughly enjoyed his work.

My father was a district councillor and when he retired Arthur put up for the role and was elected.
“He was very humble and grateful for being re-elected to the district and parish councils by the parishioners. He always looked on the bright side.
“The day before he died we had enjoyed a day out.”

A tribute has been paid to Mr Forrester by the leader of SMDC, councillor Sybil Ralphs.
Cllr Ralphs said: “Arthur was first elected to SMDC way back in the Municipal Year of 1983/84.

He represented the ward of Alton, and he served the people of that ward and the people of the Staffordshire Moorlands with distinction for 36 years before retiring from public office in 2019.
“I was privileged to work with Arthur for many of those years, and following the 2007 local elections we were elected leader and deputy leader of SMDC by our peers, and together we led the authority for 12 progressive, productive and successful years until his retirement last year.
“Arthur was a joy to work with. I have benefited enormously from his support, his unfaltering loyalty, his wise advice and his wealth of local government knowledge amassed over his many years of service. Quite simply I could not have had a kinder nor more loyal colleague and friend than Arthur.”

Cllr Ralphs continued: “Time and time again, particularly since his death, elected members and members of staff at Moorlands House have repeatedly made the same comments. That “Arthur was a gentleman; a thoroughly decent man; always approachable and prepared to listen, and someone who worked hard for the Moorlands and its people”.

What a wonderful reputation and legacy to leave behind, to be remembered by, and so richly deserved.
“As well as being deputy leader, Arthur was of course a member of the cabinet, with the portfolio for Environmental Services. It is quite a number of years now since the whole concept of recycling was introduced, and at the very beginning local authorities were not quite sure how to go about introducing this and making it work.

Arthur relished this challenge; not only did he and the team at Fowlchurch make it work, our success rate was such that we achieved the accolade of being the best authority in the country for our recycling rates: Arthur was pleased about that; as he always said: “If you are going to do a job, do it properly.”
“Children’s education was another subject very close to Arthur’s heart. He fought long and hard to retain the rural schools in the Moorlands. He knew their true value, and the enormous benefit that local children gain from having their early education provided in their local rural community. He was a life-long school governor and chairman of school governors until fairly recently. In addition to all of this he was a member of Alton Parish Council for 38 years.

I used to joke with him at local election time that the votes he received for both district and parish elections were so many that they should be weighed not counted.
“Arthur achieved so many things during his long service to local government. He was very proud to be asked to serve as the Civic Head by taking on the role of chairman of SMDC in 1987-88.

Needless to say he remains one of the most popular and well remembered chairmen that we have ever had.
“Arthur was a deeply committed Christian, and I believe that his faith and beliefs helped and influenced him in his daily work and helped him to achieve so many successful outcomes. Quite simply he loved the Moorlands and its people and wanted to do the best for them.”
Cllr Ralphs added: “To me it is a great pity that the next generation of elected councillors will never have the opportunity to work with Arthur. They would have seen for themselves what it means to be a genuine councillor. They would have seen a man of integrity, decency, quietly efficient and hard working who took the time and trouble to listen to people and their problems and who did his best to help.
“A man who was above petty politics, who did not indulge in political point scoring or seek publicity. And a man whose sole aim throughout his long, successful and distinguished career in local government was to serve, to improve and maintain the highest standard and quality of life for every man, woman and child in the Staffordshire Moorlands.”

In accordance to the present Covid-19 restrictions, there will be a private funeral for Mr Forrester at St Peter’s Parish Church in Alton on Wednesday, September 9 at 2pm.

This will be followed by interment in Alton Parish Cemetery. Family flowers only, donations if desired to St Peter’s Church in Alton.

Mr Forrester’s funeral is being organised by A Slater & Sons of Mayfield.

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