Tributes paid to former Havering councillors who have passed away
PUBLISHED: 19:00 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 19:27 24 March 2020
Tributes have been paid to two former Havering councillors, one a past council leader, who have passed away.
Wilf Mills, 90, died earlier this month, his grandson Jack confirmed.
Wilf spent more than 40 years as a Labour councillor, having first been elected to represent the Gooshays ward in 1971. He also went on to serve Hilldene and Heaton wards.
The Collier Row resident led the council in 1997 and 1998 and received the freedom of the borough in 2003. His brothers Les and Bert were also councillors.
Jack told the Recorder that his grandfather was a “very big character”, who once rejected the chance to become the borough’s mayor.
“You knew he was in the room and he had a song for any occasion. He was always swinging his walking stick.
“Being a councillor was his life really. Even at the weekends he would be taking calls from people.
“He gave a lot of his life to the borough.”
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He added that Wilf had spent the last four years of his life suffering with dementia.
Havering Council also confirmed the passing of a former councillor from across the political divide, Fred Osborne.
Fred, who was in his mid-eighties, was elected to the council representing Brooklands ward in 2006.
He then switched allegiances to UKIP in 2013 and served on the council until 2014.
Havering mayor Michael Deon Burton said that although Fred was not a giant of a man physically, he was “approachable and had time for those who were not sure of what to do next”.
“It is often said diamonds come in smaller packages. Then this is how I shall choose to remember him, brilliant in his passion for that which he believed in and priceless in that which the world has lost.”
Council leader Damian White said everyone at the council was “deeply saddened” by the deaths.
He added: “I had the pleasure of working with Frederick over many years in the council. I admired his dedication and commitment to the borough and was touched by his endless ambition to improve the lives of Havering residents.
“Although I didn’t know Wilf personally, I understand he worked tirelessly for his residents and spent his life campaigning in what he believed.”