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Farewell to Mr Honesty
THE former leader of Swindon Council Stuart Macpherson was laid to rest yesterday, as his family and friends gathered to share their fondest tales of a man who will be remembered for his integrity, honesty and humour.
Stuart, who was elected to the council in 1969 and served until 1988, was well known in the town having stood as a Conservative member of the Old Town and Lawn wards.
In the 1970s, he took over the leadership of the council when a number of major redevelopments were taking place in the town.
The Macphersons have been hailed as an outstanding family in Swindon with three generations, stretching back to the 30s, serving the public.
Stuart’s son, Angus, is the first elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, while his father Charles also served as a councillor.
During a celebration of his life yesterday, Angus paid tribute to his father.
“He was always there for us, sorting out our problems, listening, advising - he was very tolerant,” he said.
“He was 58 when he stepped down from the council. When the role of the PCC was advertised, I told him I was thinking of standing and his first reaction was ‘you’re too old’ - I was 58. Perhaps he was challenging me.
“He helped shape the manifesto, suggested people I should meet, people I should visit, kept an eye on the press. The advice he gave me was ‘always, always do up your jacket when there’s a camera around’.
“We were overwhelmed by the wonderful care both for him and for us, for the two days he was in intensive care at the Great Western Hospital. When he was first admitted he was running his office from his iPad.
“We will miss him.”
Stuart’s grandson, Hugh O’Sullivan, also read a moving tribute during the service, which included an early memory of his grandfather dressing up as Father Christmas.
“He was a man who would always strive to do the right thing,” he said.
“A man who liked to call a spade a spade and he was always counted on to take control of a situation.
“He was a wonderful grandfather, and a wonderful person. He was never a stick-in-the-mud, he was always willing to give new ideas and technology a go. He certainly put some of the younger members of the family to shame technology wise.”
Away from politics, Stuart, who passed away peacefully on August 22, worked as an optician at his family business, in Old Town, where his father worked before him.
Donations can be made in Stuart’s memory to the Prospect Hospice and may be sent c/o Hillier Funeral Service, 170 Victoria Road, Swindon, SN1 3DF.
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