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Obituary John Tavernor

Obituary John Tavernor

With sadness and apologies for the delay in this obituary, we report the passing of former Councillor John Tavernor, ex Mayor of the Borough and more recently Honorary Alderman.

He had been a member of the governing body of this area since around 1968 - long before it was reorganised to become Fylde Borough in 1974, and had, in fact been Mayor of both Lytham St Annes and later Fylde Councils.

For as long as we have known Fylde council and followed its working, he Chaired the Policy and Resources Committee at Fylde and carried the unofficial title of 'Leader of the Council' or sometimes 'Father of the Council'.

Regular counterbalance readers will know we have some understanding of the workings of Fylde. That's partly because from the 1980s we worked there for several years, and it was Cllr Tavernor who chaired a joint meeting of the Policy and Resources and Tourism and Leisure Committee who interviewed the 15 candidates for the post we had applied for. The success we had means that Cllr Tavernor held something of a special place for us, having provided the opportunity for us to work for what was, at that time, a wonderful Council run by and for people, rather than for party politics or policy.

That said, former Cllr Tavernor could be a bit of a 'marmite' character in that he could be outspoken in his manner, and was never afraid to speak his mind.

We found that he struggled to present well if he had been given notes to speak from, but when he spoke from his heart, he was a most persuasive speaker who almost always carried the argument.

He had firm views about what was right and wrong, and he had high expectations of the staff at the Town Hall.

So although at times he might be thought to be 'difficult' - the course he charted for Fylde was always straight, and narrowly focused, and everyone understood and accepted the direction he set. That, of course, is the mark of a true, natural, leader.

He led the Council at a golden time, where the council's own decisions about financial prudence kept tax increases in check (rather than having Government impose the spending cap that came later), and where the old fashioned values of efficiency and public service were highly prized and valued.

It is no exaggeration to say that his lifetime contribution to Fylde showed exemplary public service and that he well and truly left his mark on the area.

Outside his civic role, be took over, and for many years ran, the family business - a hardware and clothing shop on Clifton Street Lytham. He also had an interest in a boatyard also at Lytham.

Socially, he was a member of many local groups, was a Rotarian, and had been a key member of Lytham Heritage Group.

In his later years, his health and state of mind had deteriorated, and we understand his demise marked him as an early victim of the Coronavius pandemic which has claimed a lot of lives, and disrupted many more, on the Fylde coast.

We mourn Alderman Tavernor's passing in April, and offer our belated but sincere condolences to his surviving family.

Dated:  27 August 2020


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