Tributes paid to '˜kind' councillor

Friends and colleagues of a long-serving district and parish councillor have paid tribute to a '˜kind and generous man'.
JPCT 100114 Ken Longhurst. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320140113124353JPCT 100114 Ken Longhurst. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320140113124353
JPCT 100114 Ken Longhurst. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320140113124353

Ken Longhurst, who spent decades on councils representing Billingshurst, died peacefully aged 95 on September 6.

An engineer by trade, he first met future fellow councillor Paul Leany when Paul was a 16-year-old apprentice working for the West Sussex Water Board in Smock Alley, West Chiltington.

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Parish cllr Leany described Mr Longhurst as ‘a brilliant man’, who was always ready to pass on tips to make life easier.

“I’ll be 75 next year and he’s just one of those blokes you miss,” he said. “I never knew Ken all his life to do anything to harm anybody, he was never agressive.”

He added: “He always made somebody laugh, it was just something he did. I never saw him miserable really and all the guys at Smock Alley liked him, respected him.

“We used to get up to pranks and things.”

As a young man, Mr Longhurst served in the RAF and crossed to America with Churchill before becoming a flight engineer.

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After the war, he lived in Bramber before moving to Billingshurst, where he became very much involved with council affairs.

Parish council chairman Paul Berry said he had learnt a great deal from Mr Longhurst from working alongside him over the years.

He said: “Ken would get passionate at meetings and had a particular interest in road safety matters, but he always conducted himself with great decorum, would never bear a grudge and after a debate would always move on.

“Even in recent years, when Ken was not a member of the Parish Council, he would still regularly attend meetings as a member of the public and wanted to be involved in the preparation of Billingshurst’s Neighbourhood Plan.

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“Ken was well known and much loved and respected in Billingshurst and it is hard to think of many others who have dedicated so many years of their lives serving the local community, he was a kind, generous and man, a real gentleman.”

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