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Obituary: John Prestwich

Obituary: John PrestwichWe were sorry to learn of the death of Councillor John Prestwich after a recent illness.

We first knew him when he joined the Council following a by-election in Kilnhouse ward.

On the Council he joined his wife, Dawn, who was already a Councillor for Fylde's Central ward.

They were a devoted and loving couple who shared everything together, and we have no doubt Cllr Mrs Prestwich will be devastated at the loss of her rock.

He was both a gentleman and a gentle man. Polished manners, always polite and civil to the point that some would have mistaken his gentleness and sweetness for weakness. Always happy and always cheerful. Always optimistic in the face of adversity.

He had the easy charm of an old-fashioned salesman and was happy talking to all manner of people.

Both he and his wife shared a great interest in music, she being an accomplished singer in her own right, and they were a Christian couple following Christian and Methodist values.

We recall being invited to a mayoral cocktail party at one time where the usual option of wine or spirits was replaced by Sarsaparilla.

As a councillor for his ward he came from the same mould as former Cllr Ron Wilson. The best sort. Always ready to go and see people in difficulty or trouble, always trying to help and sort out their problems with a zeal that came from a deep seated belief in, and love of, those people he was elected to serve.

He was perhaps less comfortable when he was thrust (wrongly in our view) into the Mayoralty in 2007-08 by the Commissar who had decided to abandon tradition in a move to prevent an independent councillor from taking the role of Mayor when it was their 'turn'

Using his political majority, the Commissar said he wanted the Mayor for that year to be a conservative (when historically the Mayor had been chosen on length of service).

Cllr Prestwich did a wonderful job in the ambassador role of the Mayoralty, but he clearly found it difficult, if not unpalatable, when he had to chair unpleasant and aggressive meetings that resembled Word War three. He was heavily reliant on officers for procedural advice in this role, and this difficult situation probably reached its zenith when he chaired the worst meeting Fylde Council has ever had - the notorious 3 March meeting at the Rugby Club which voted to close the swimming pools.

So whilst we doubt he would have laid claim to being Fylde's best chairman or Fylde's greatest orator, he was undoubtedly a man of gentle manners, civilised behaviour, and deep caring for his fellow man. In short, the hallmarks of what is best in Fylde.

Dated:   13 June 2010


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