Tributes paid to well-respected councillor: 'he had Littlehampton written through him like a stick of rock'

Tributes have been paid to a well-respected councillor who recently passed away.

Town and district council veteran Tony Squires died on April 6, days after meeting his great-grandson Bertie, born on March 31, and celebrating his 53rd wedding anniversary with his wife Wendy on April 1.

She described the 78-year-old as a ‘caring and straightforward person’: “What you saw is what you got, and that is why I think people respected him.”

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Wendy said the outpouring of condolences had been ‘amazing’.

Tony Squires has passed away

Among them was Arun District Council leader James Walsh, who said 'Tony had Littlehampton written through him like a stick of rock', and Mike Northeast, who represented Wickbourne ward at Littlehampton Town Council with Tony for 30 years.

He described him as his mentor, adding: “I will never forget the first day he showed me round both councils and it was obvious that the level of affection shown towards him by the officers was genuine and well earned.”

He said: “Council meetings will not be the same without his dulcet tones, often saying in the simplest way what we were all thinking.”

Tony, a Labour councillor, was first elected to Littlehampton Urban District Council in 1965 for three years. Later, he was elected to Arun District Council and Littlehampton Town Council – and despite being a member of the opposition was elected to be Arun chairman, an honorary position, in 2005 to 2006.

Heavily involved in the scouts, Tony organised a European tour for the Arundel and Littlehampton Scout Band in 1990. Pictured: the band in Germany

He also did two stints as Littlehampton mayor in 1987 to 1988 and 2000 to 2001.

He left Arun council around 2012, and was made an honorary alderman in 2014, but remained on the town council until his death.

Aside from his political work, he was was also well-known for his work with the Scouts, which he joined in in 1977 as a member of the group committee at the 5th

Littlehampton Sea Scouts before moving over to the 7th division.

Tony with his grandson at his passing out parade in the fire service - one of his proudest moments

A highlight was organising a European tour for the Arundel and Littlehampton Scout Band in 1990, in which they visited Chennevieres Sur Marne in France, Durmesheim in Germany, Luxembourg, Brusssels and Eindhoven in Holland.

He was a handyman for the 5th division until around six months ago.

Tony's career included stints as a steam train driver in Horsham and later a railway conductor, in which he negotiated pay rises for colleagues through work with his union, the NUR. He retired in 2001.

In 1989, he was also the conductor in the Purley train crash, in which five people died and dozens were injured. Thankfully, he only got a cut to his finger and helped with basic first aid, Wendy said.

Tony, who served as Mayor of Littlehampton, was also a train conductor

He was a magistrate on the Arundel Bench from 1988 to 2000 when the court closed, and also was part of the Littlehampton Twinning association since 1988 when Littlehampton first twinned with Durmesheim.

Another passion was the Littlehampton Allotments and Leisure Gardens Association, which he was active in, and the Littlehampton Companions charity.

Tony’s funeral will be held on April 22 for close family, with a party planned later in the year.

He is survived by his wife Wendy, two children, one grandson and one great-grandson.

Here are the tributes in full:

James Walsh

Tony when he was first elected

Tony had Littlehampton written through him like a stick of rock.

He loved this town, and was passionate in everything he did to support and better it.

His commitment form Scouting to railways, from town twinning to allotments, from Companions Club to councils was legendary.

With not a bad bone in his body, he had a ready and infectious sense of humour, and brought joy and practical help to so many in our community.

An irreplaceable loss to the town, we extend all our sympathies to Wendy and family, and hope to pay public tributes once this coronavirus emergency is over.

Mike Northeast

My thoughts are with Wendy, Ashley and Tania and the rest of his family at this very sad time.

I’m sure we all have fond memories of Tony (Squeaker), his anecdotes and the unique way he represented the people he called his Wick family.

For many years Tony was the lone Labour representative on two Councils however this did not stop him serving Ham Ward residents in his unique style through the power of persuasion helping make his ward a better, fairer place for everyone.

He was my mentor when I was first elected almost thirty years ago and I will never forget the first day he showed me round both councils and it was obvious from that first day that the level of affection shown towards him by the officers was genuine and well earned.

It’s true to say over the years we had our differences but I will always remember Tony with great fondness and for all the laughs we had over the years. Council meetings will not be the same without his dulcet tones, often saying in the simplest way what we were all thinking.

Rest in Peace mate, I will miss you.

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