Tributes to gentleman’

VETERAN Conservative councillor and Earith farmer John Eddy has died, aged 72, after a short illness. Tributes to the affable former chairman of both Cambridgeshire County Council and Huntingdonshire District Council poured in from political colleagues an

VETERAN Conservative councillor and Earith farmer John Eddy has died, aged 72, after a short illness.

Tributes to the affable former chairman of both Cambridgeshire County Council and Huntingdonshire District Council poured in from political colleagues and the Anglican Diocese of Ely, where he was also active for many years.

John Ackerly Penhall Eddy served continuously on the district council for 30 years, first joining in 1976.

At the time of his death he was sitting member for Earith, where he lived in Meadow Drove. Only one member has served HDC for longer.

John Eddy was the son of the Rector of Bluntisham and lived in the area throughout his life.

His father was a typical country rector, who kept fighting cock bantams, said the Rev Chris Barter, Rector of Somersham, where Mr Eddy worshipped regularly and was part of the bell-ringing team.

Most Read

"He was a real gentleman," he said.

Mr Barter said a 10-minute visit to John Eddy in hospital had turned into an hour-an-a-half and, even in Arthur Rank House hospice, in Cambridge, he had been asking after others.

He died on Thursday, August 3.

Mr Eddy was a former member of Ely's diocesan synod and remained a member of the Bishop's Council - the diocese's cabinet - until the end.

The Bishop, the Rt Rev Dr Anthony Russell, said: "John played a major role in the life of this diocese and in the life of the county to which he had devoted a great deal of time and energy".

Councillor Mike Newman, HDC's longest-serving member, recalled John Eddy's arrival at the council in 1976.

"We had served together on the local NFU committee and, when he first came to the council, he used me as his mentor. He never let anything go. If you had a problem, he stuck at it until he got it solved.

"Fellow members held him in high esteem. That's why they elected him chairman of both councils."

HDC leader Councillor Ian Bates added: "We remember John as a quiet, unassuming and dedicated councillor, who had served for more than 30 years.

"His contribution will be sadly missed, not only by his local constituents, but by the wider community. John served for many years on the development control panel - and coming from a farming background, was also concerned with environmental issues.

"He was vice-chairman of the council from 2003-2004, then chairman 2004-2006, which, I know, he thoroughly enjoyed and felt privileged to have held such a position.

"He will be sadly missed by all parties for his sheer dedicated commitment to the district."

HDC chief executive David Monks said: "I always enjoyed working with John, both as chairman of the district council and as a local member. He was a very experienced and knowledgeable member, particularly in the area of planning.

"Although our views didn't always coincide, we always had a very strong relationship, and I felt he worked hard for the people of Huntingdonshire."

Liberal Democrat county officer Martin Land said: "He was a real character - blunt, but with great humour. We shall miss him."

Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire, whose constituency includes Earith, added: "John was a lovely man who served his community enormously well. He was very popular and it was a privilege for me to have known him."

His predecessor as MP, Lord (Brian) Mawhinney said John Eddy was a "fine Christian gentleman, who showed great flair, concern and interest in his constituents".

At county level, Mr Eddy represented the Somersham and Earith division at Shire Hall for 25 years from 1981. He was vice-chairman of the county council between 1997 and 1999 and chairman between 1999 and 2001. He had also been chairman of the development control committee since 2005.

County council chairman Susan Normington, who represents Ramsey, said: "John Eddy gave many years service to local government. He was dedicated to putting the needs of his constituents first and worked tirelessly on their behalf. He will be sadly missed by colleagues from all parties on the county council."

- John Eddy's funeral will be held at Somersham Parish Church next Monday, August 14, at 2pm, followed by interment at Bluntisham.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter