Former Hunts council chairman dies at 83

LONG-serving former Huntingdonshire District Councillor Jim Mugglestone, pictured, has died, aged 83.

A civil engineer and former member of the Peterborough Development Corporation, he served continuously on HDC for 28 years between 1976 and 2004, successively for the Ellington and Kimbolton Wards, the latter his home village, and was highly regarded not only by political colleagues but also by council officers.

For almost all of those 28 years he was either chairman or vice-chairman of the planning committee, reflecting his abiding interest in land use and transport, a portfolio he held in HDC’s first cabinet in 2000.

He was chairman of the council in 1989-1991, and was also a long-serving trustee of the Kimbolton School Foundation charity.

Richard Turpin, who as leader appointed Jim Mugglestone to his cabinet, remembered him as “unbelievably committed to his ward while being able to look beyond the immediate. His death is a loss to the community.

“He was also a very even-handed and gentlemanly person,” a sentiment echoed by officers at HDC’s Pathfinder House headquarters.

Mr Mugglestone’s successor as district councillor for Kimbolton and Stonely, Cllr Jonathan Gray, said: “I shall always remember Jim with a great deal of affection and respect. He was a tremendous role model to all politicians in his service of the community and helped me enormously as a new councillor.”

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Sir John Major’s political agent, Sir Peter Brown, added: “He used to run me ragged at lection time, because he always though he was going to lose. But he was very much liked in the community, in which he retained an interest even after he left the council.

“Jim was one of the old school and did a thoroughly good job as a local councillor. He was one of the nicest people I have met during my time in politics. He had a great life and will be sorely missed.”

That sentiment resonated with Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Peter Downes, who told The Hunts Post: “I always liked him. I felt that he was very fair and open to views different from his own political views, and he took an interest in everybody.”

Following a private funeral, a memorial service will be held for Mr Mugglestone on Friday, February 17 at 1pm at St Andrew’s Church, Kimbolton.