Tributes paid to "dedicated and passionate" Purley councillor, David Betts
The former chairman of Purley-on-Thames Parish Council, Mr Betts died on Saturday after contracting pneumonia.
A meeting of West Berkshire Council last night (Thursday) opened with a minutes silence for Mr Betts, who had been a Conservative district councillor since 2007 and had previously been the executive member for highways and transport.
Leader of the council, Gordon Lundie (Con, Lambourn), who had visited Mr Betts the day before his death to discuss him returning to council meetings, said: “Although he was very frail we spent an hour together and talked about everything and nothing, as you do when you visit friends.
“He was in very good spirits and I certainly didn’t imagine standing here today speaking in tribute.
“His passion for politics ran clear. David was diligent. He dealt with his duties well. His contribution to a debate was more important than the need to win the debate, something we all should remember.”
Liberal Democrat leader Jeff Brooks (Thatcham West) added: “[David] was a measured man who over the last two years has shown enormous courage to bear a terrible illness.
“We will remember David for working hard and for being brave. He will be missed.”
Fellow Purley ward member, Tim Metcalfe (Con), said: “David was a very proud man who, like so many men, didn’t like to bother the doctor. He left his condition too late.
“Although he knew it would be an uphill struggle he remained in good spirits throughout. It is that that I will remember.”
The current chairman of Purley Parish Council, Rick Jones, said this morning (Friday) that Mr Betts had achieved a number of “first class services” for Purley, including introducing “more appropriate” speed limits through the village and seeing Purley incorporated into West Berkshire Council’s winter service plan so that roads were regularly gritted.
“He represented Purley with a great deal of passion, he certainly really cared about the village,” said Mr Jones. “He will be greatly missed both for his dedication and his expertise in local matters.
“He was always willing to listen to local people and take note of what they wanted.”
Several councillors also shared fond memories of Mr Betts, from his love of fast cars to his avid support for Chelsea Football Club, and his ability to embrace technology, including social media, was praised.
His funeral will take place at West Berkshire Crematorium at 1.30pm on Tuesday, November 11, to which all are welcome to attend.
His family have requested people not to wear black.