This item was considered at the meeting on 6 October 2011
Cllr Norman Stephens, Chairman of the Council, invited members and officers of the council and members of the public to join him in observing one minute's silence as a mark of respect to former councillor Frank Williams who had died earlier in the week. He then invited group leaders and other members to pay tribute to Frank.
Cllr Martin, Leader of the Labour Group, said that Frank had been born 82 years ago to a Bream mining family with roots in the Forest going back over 150 years. Educated in Lydney, after 7 years in the Royal Navy, he taught for 27 years in a Gloucester School. She said that many Lydney people would remember him from their youth as leader of Bream Youth club from 1957-73. He was a Labour stalwart, a socialist to the last, championing fairness for all and fighting injustice.
He was a dedicated Town and District Councillor, being initially elected in 1982, dedicating his efforts to get the best for the forest as a whole and the Lydney area particularly. He left the district council in 2006.
Frank had a wonderful sense of humour and a love of life and of people.
He can be remembered for many things but the most important to this council was his involvement with the Coalfield Community Campaign, as a result of which the council was awarded substantial funding. He would be missed by all.
Cllr Glastonbury said that he had known Frank since he was 15 years old through the youth club in Lydney, where Frank had always put the youngsters on the straight and narrow. He had been funny and well respected by the young people. Cllr Glastonbury had also respected him for his work on the town and district councils and would miss him personally.
Cllr Osborne had known Frank for 11 years and found him to be a genuine person and fierce debater who was always friendly outside the chamber. He had done his best for Lydney and would be missed by councillors of all political parties who had known him.
Cllr Hogan remembered Frank as a complex and fascinating character. His external informality had given an impression of superficiality, but he had been a true polymath, humanitarian, internationalist, socialist and a dear friend. When Cllr Hogan had been leader, Frank had been his deputy and had never been afraid to say that his leader had got it wrong and had been correct 90 per cent of the time. Even though he was 20 years older than himself Cllr Hogan would miss him tremendously as an ageless character, who could communicate equally well with people aged 11 or 80. The Forest would be poorer for his passing.
Cllr Molyneux, Leader of the Conservative Group, said he had not known Frank well, but hoped that the council would do justice to his work on the coalfields alliance through what it was doing with the northern quarter in Cinderford.
Cllr Stephens had known Frank for 25 years and despite disagreements inside the chamber had become friends outside. He had remained friends with Frank, who had always kept a sense of fun and zest for life. Frank had respected others' views and had commanded respect for his own in the chamber. Those of all political groups had acknowledged his work in getting coalfields money despite the fact that the last commercial mine had long-since closed in the Forest. He had also been instrumental in the Lydney swimming pool project.
Frank's daughter had phoned Cllr Stephens earlier in the day and had said that while the funeral had not yet been arranged, she would love to hear from any of Frank's friends and colleagues. She had added that the funeral would be a celebration of his life and anyone would be welcome to say a few words. She had discussed with Cllr Stephens the complete appropriateness of Frank's wish to 'go out' to the Morecombe and Wise song 'Bring Me Sunshine'.