Tributes paid to Hemingford Grey councillor

TRIBUTES have been paid to businessman and stalwart Hemingford Grey Parish Councillor Brian Luxford who died suddenly on June 11. Councillor Luxford, a father and grandfather, had contracted legionnaire s disease from an unknown source and died at Hinchin

TRIBUTES have been paid to businessman and stalwart Hemingford Grey Parish Councillor Brian Luxford who died suddenly on June 11.

Councillor Luxford, a father and grandfather, had contracted legionnaire's disease from an unknown source and died at Hinchingbrooke Hospital aged 70.

Fellow Parish Councillor Bridget Smith told The Hunts Post: "We are all very sad. As our emergency officer, Brian was part of the rescue operation during the floods in 1998, and after that, whenever there was a flood alert, Brian was in charge and he made sure everyone knew about it.

"He was a quiet, caring person, a stalwart councillor. He had been in the village a long time, he would never make a fuss or show off. There was quiet a lot of change in the parish council and Brian just worked with the new system."

The chairman of the council, Councillor Chris Page said: "His death has been a great shock to us all and we will miss him. Brian was the third longest serving councillor and he always wanted what was best for the village. He wanted changes to be in keeping with the character of the village. He worked hard on flood defences and defence planning. He was fairly quiet at meetings but when he had a point to make he made it forcefully and well. He had a sense of humour, which we all appreciated."

Mr Luxford was a parish councillor for 20 years. This year would have been 40 years since he and his late colleague Dennis Purser set up their motor mechanics business, Purser and Luxford in St Ives, starting in Bridgefoot in December 1968. In 1982, with a third partner Salvatore Caparaso (Fred), the business moved to Cromwell Works, New Road, St Ives. Mr Luxford retired four years ago. Mr Luxford was a member of Hemingford Bowls Club and a judge for Hemingford Regatta.

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Brian Luxford grew up in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, going to grammar school and technical college before serving an apprenticeship as a diagnostic mechanic. He did his National Service in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. While serving, he was one of a team of champion sprinters but decided not to stay full-time in the forces, despite being offered the chance to become a professional athlete.

The young Mr Luxford moved to Huntingdonshire in his 20s when a friend told him about a job as a driver and break down engineer at Atcost, manufacturers of farm buildings.

By coincidence, his wife, Nita, a primary school teacher from Durham, four years younger than her husband, similarly moved to Huntingdonshire after she was told by a friend of a job at Westfield School in St Ives. Before she retired, Mrs Luxford taught at Westfield and at Houghton Primary School.

The couple met through friends. She had seen him playing Al Hakam in a production of Oklahoma! by Simads (St Ives Music and Drama Society).

One night when she had kept a friend's children company while their mother was at a Simads rehearsal. The family insisted that she couldn't walk home alone and that Brian walk her across the park. Their first date was a Simads Dinner Dance, on her birthday, just the day before his.

Mrs Luxford said: "The most important thing to Brian were his sons. He just wanted to do his best for them. He was very much a village person, he grew up in a village and he loved this village.

"I have been overwhelmed by the letters and cards and flowers and the nice things people have said about him. He was a very down to earth man with a down to earth with a down to earth job. People have paid tribute to his sense of humour and how reliable he was. Olive Purser always did the accounts but they built the business on not having general office staff. They liked to be able to explain things directly to his customers."

Cllr Luxford leaves two sons, Michael, who has a computer based business in St Ives and Roy a freelance theatrical producer in London. His two grandchildren are Elliot, nine and Aniela, seven.

His funeral will be at St James Church, Hemingford Grey on Friday, June 27 at 11am followed by a cremation at Cambridge Crematorium, East Chapel. Family flowers only, donations if wished to the Critical Care Unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital to be sent c/o Dennis Easton Funeral Service, The Lodge, 1 Broad Leas, St Ives, PE27 5PU.

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