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Respected Hungerford citizen to be honoured on March 10

Jack Williams - who once served as town mayor - was nicknamed 'Mr Hungerford'

The funeral cortege of the late Jack Williams will pass through the streets of Hungerford on Wednesday, March 10, for the townsfolk to pay him their last respects.

Mr Williams – affectionately known as 'Mr Hungerford' – died, aged 92, on Thursday, February 25.

His was a life devoted to public service and on Monday, an online, full meeting of Hungerford Town Council observed a minute's silence to remember a true civic stalwart and former town mayor.

The current town mayor, Helen Simpson, told the meeting: "I've been asked to read the eulogy at the funeral, which is slightly daunting, but a huge honour and privilege."

She said she had sought input from residents and conceded it would be a challenge to distill "a whole lifetime of experience" into a few minutes.

Meanwhile, the neighbourhood police team said in a statement to the town council meeting: "It is with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Jack Williams.

"Jack was known to the longer-serving members of the Hungerford team who have great memories of times spent with him listening to stories of days gone by and his knowledge of Hungerford was second to none. Rest in peace Jack."

Coronavirus restrictions will mean the crowds that would otherwise have been expected to attend the funeral will be unable to do so.

Instead, the hearse will drive past the town hall at noon and then turn into Church Street on the way to St Lawrence Church.

Mrs Simpson said: "We would encourage people to pay their respects in Church Street, where possible."

Mr Williams' links with the local fire service go back decades and firefighters will turn out to pay their respects.

Last Post will be sounded outside the church in recognition of Mr Williams' service to the Royal British Legion.

Funeral director Neale Marney will accompany the cortege on foot, representing the people of the town.

Mrs Simpson said: "There were lots of people who expressed a wish to walk alongside the cortege.

"The family was concerned that this could put people at risk of breaking coronavirus restrictions so Neale will do it on their behalf.

"We'd respectfully ask people not to huddle in groups. The police will be there to ensure safe distancing."

The church service is expected to take place between 12.30pm and 1pm and then the cortege will proceed at walking pace past The Bear Hotel.

Mr Williams is survived by his two children and four grandchildren.

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