Warm tributes paid to Felpham’s county councillor

Hilary Flynn, pictured in early 2019Hilary Flynn, pictured in early 2019
Hilary Flynn, pictured in early 2019
Warm tributes have been paid to Felpham’s county councillor whose ‘dedicated’ career to Conservative politics spanned four decades.

Hilary Flynn, who represented the division at County Hall since 2017 alongside serving as a parish councillor, passed away overnight.

Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, led tributes to a ‘close friend and advisor’.

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He said: “Hilary’s health had been poor for a number of years but her cheery stoicism through it all marked her as a strong and caring person; never letting pain detract from her role as loving mother to her daughter, a devoted grandmother, or dedicated local councillor and party activist.

“Hilary’s warm and welcoming personality shone through her; she never missed an opportunity to host a social gathering of her wide circle of friends and family.

“It was these ‘people skills’ together with her intelligence and deep local understanding that made her a formidable and successful Conservative Party agent, first in Chichester for Anthony Nelson, then for Sir Michael Marshall (the then MP for Arundel) and latterly, since 1997, for me as the MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton.

“In a career dedicated to Conservative politics spanning 40 years Hilary successfully galvanised support and encouraged involvement. But it wasn’t until 2003 that she first stood for office herself, becoming a Chichester city councillor and in 2017 being elected to West Sussex County Council representing Felpham, where she was also a parish councillor.

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“Hilary has long been active in her local community. In 2009 she set up a fund raising charity for children with cerebral palsy, following the birth of her grandson born with the condition.

“Hilary became the first female member of the Bognor Regis Rotary Club and became heavily involved in its youth committee and fundraising for community projects.

“I have known Hilary for 25 years. She was my close friend and adviser. I will miss her deeply as will her many friends and family who adored her. She will be missed by the many hundreds of people she has helped over the years in her various community roles, roles she carried out with enthusiasm and energy and uncomplaining fortitude.”

Janet Duncton, chairman of West Sussex County Council, said: “I will miss Hilary so very much. I have known, and worked with, Hilary for many years and she was a genuine friend. She was a stalwart in her community and did so much for West Sussex. Hilary was a real ambassador for people and knew what residents in our county needed. My condolences go to all of her family.”

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Paul Marshall, leader of the county council, added: “Hilary was a wonderful councillor who did so much for her local community. She was a tireless champion for residents in her local area and in West Sussex generally. As well as her dedication to public service she devoted herself to charity work and to looking out for those in her community. She will be greatly missed.”

Jacquie Russell, who worked with Hilary through the county council’s work on supporting children, said: “Hilary and I worked very closely together at West Sussex County Council both as members of the same political group and on the corporate parenting panel; a panel tasked with supporting our most vulnerable children. Hilary’s passion for improving outcomes for children was unstinting.

“She is a huge loss to the county council and I have lost not only a valued colleague but a great friend.”

David Edwards, county councillor for Bersted and district councillor for Felpham East, added: “Hilary was much more than a colleague, she was a dear friend, advisor, confidante, mentor and an inspiration. She convinced me to get into local politics and I will always be thankful for her counsel and support during local elections.

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“When she became the county councillor for Felpham she really took to the role and became a strong advocate for the village.

“Her work at County Hall in Corporate Parenting helping our most vulnerable children was something she was extremely passionate about. As a mother, grandmother, and recently a great grandmother, children were always at the forefront of her thoughts. Her loss to local politics is devastating enough, but I have lost a dear friend, and I will miss her terribly.”

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