Mon, 27 Mar 2017
Tributes are being paid to the leader of West Berkshire Council, Roger Croft, who has died from injuries sustained in a car crash last month.
Mr Croft had been visiting family in France with his wife Zelda when the crash occurred. Mrs Croft was killed in the accident and Mr Croft was being treated for serious injuries in a French hospital.
Sadly, Mr Croft succumbed to his injuries on Friday evening.
West Berkshire Council paid tribute to Mr Croft today (Monday).
The council's acting leader, Graham Jones (Con, Lambourn), said: “When Roger got elected in 2011 we quickly realised he had a huge amount to offer and he rapidly progressed to be an Executive Member then to deputy leader and leader.
“Whilst Roger got elected to West Berks Council after ‘retirement’ he brought with him the zeal and energy of a much younger man but this was always tempered by lots of life experience on how to get things done.
"Whilst driving through his own ideas he was always willing to learn very quickly built up an extensive networks of contacts both in politics and across West Berkshire.
“Across the council he had huge respect from colleagues for his leadership and dedication. He was above all else focused on the result and ‘would it help the council tax payer?’ There is much of what I know he wanted to achieve left undone which we will finish in his memory.
“Zelda's support was so important to him and they both became good friends. We will miss them both terribly.”
Acting deputy leader Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley) paid the following tribute
Councillor Hilary Cole, Acting Deputy Leader, has paid tribute to Roger Croft today. pic.twitter.com/KnBv2ed7Mm— West Berkshire (@WestBerkshire) March 27, 2017
Online tributes have been paid to Mr Croft.
So sad that my friend and leader of West Berks Council, Roger Croft, has died. It would be hard to find someone more decent or kind. RIP— Richard Benyon (@RichardBenyonMP) March 26, 2017
Devastated at the news that my co-councillor Roger Croft has passed away. A fine man, mentor and friend who will be sorely missed.— Rob Denton-Powell (@robdentonpowell) March 26, 2017
News of the death of Roger Croft has hit us all. He was an inspiring Leader, amazing man & great friend. Now reunited with his beloved Zelda— Emma Webster (@CllrEmmaWBC) March 26, 2017
Extremely sad news about the death of Cllr Roger Croft reaches us. We extend our thoughts and sympathies to his family and friends.— UNISON West Berks (@UNISONWestBerks) March 27, 2017
Very sad to hear of the death of councillor Roger Croft @LeaderWBC a kind and decent man. Our thoughts are with his loved ones.— Newbury Green Party (@newburygreens) March 26, 2017
Our condolences to all the West Berkshire staff and Council, and of course the family and friends of Cllr Roger Croft at his passing.— Newbury Labour (@newburyclp) March 27, 2017
Mr Croft was elected as a councillor for Thatcham South & Crookham ward in 2011 following a career in the IT industry.
He was appointed to the council's executive in 2012, dealing with issues including housing and strategy, performance, finance and broadband.
He became deputy leader in 2014 and was elected as council leader in November 2015.
Mr Jones will remain as acting leader supported by Mrs Cole. The council said that a new leader that a new leader will be elected in the coming months.
The council's chief executive, Nick Carter, said: “I will remember Roger for his energy, drive and vision. He was the architect behind the current Council Strategy and at the time of his passing was playing a lead role in exploring a range of new income opportunities for the Council.
"He was also very proud of the Council’s contract with Gigaclear which is currently bringing superfast broadband to the District.
"He worked at a great pace and could be difficult to keep up with such was his desire to get things done. We will all miss his energy, his real passion for serving the communities here in West Berkshire and of course his friendship and humour.”
Newbury MP Richard Benyon said: "This is a tragedy for his family. His children have now lost both parents in tragic circumstances.
"It's doubly sad because Roger had planned to retire as leader of the council in a year or two in order to see more of his family."
He added: "Roger was a joy to work with - he was so very committed; determined and utterly unyielding in his desire to get the best for the people of West Berkshire.
"He managed to lead a large group of people with diverse opinions and different priorities and still remain popular with everyone."
Mr Benyon went on: "Personally, I'm feeling shattered by this sad news."