Tributes to Uckfield councillor Bob Sweetland

TRIBUTES have been paid to a much-loved local councillor who died on November 4.

Former Wealden District and Uckfield town councillor Robert, known as Bob, Sweetland fought a seven year battle against leukaemia.

Bob was born in Cornwall. He worked as a program analyst in estate management for the NHS where he met Carol, a nurse. They were married for 45 years.

Bob worked for the NHS in Exeter, Kent and Sussex, retiring 10 years ago. He took an active part in local affairs, being involved with the fundraising and building of Ridgewood Village Hall, and also the founder chairman of Uckfield Millennium Green Trust. He was a Liberal Democrat member and Ridgewood councillor for Wealden District Council from 2004 until November 2010 when he resigned due to ill health. He was deputy chairman of the North Wealden planning committee and visited all the sites on the agenda prior to the meeting.

Bob was also an Uckfield town councillor where he sat on various committees and working groups. Latterly he was very involved in the allotment reviews and green sustainability issues.

Bob volunteered for the steering group at the formation of the Uckfield Millennium Green Trust and was voted the Green’s first chairman. He was a Trustee up to his death.

He was artistically talented and taught watercolour painting at evening classes. On retirement he used engineering, carpentry and wood-turning skills to make bespoke items for his Victorian home. He helped create the first Uckfield Festival in 2000, writing to the Sussex Express that Uckfield had ittle culture or community. Twelve years on Uckfield is a more cultural and community minded town.

His friend and colleague Cllr Dorothy Sparks said: “Bob was a caring, honourable, upbeat person who did his best for his community.”

He leaves a wife, two children and a grand daughter.