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Footpath honour for Rex Barnett
9:00am Tuesday 29th October 2013 in News
Buy this photo » rom left, Eileen Arkley, council leader David Renard, MP Robert Buckland, Claire Ellis, Charlie Wicks, Alison Pewsey, Jack Wicks, Sara Wicks, Sandra Barnett and Ruby Sambler at Rex Barnett Way, named in tribute to the former mayor
HE DEDICATED his career to making Swindon a better place but never lived to see his final project completed.
During his time as a councillor the father-of-two spent almost two years fighting to have a broken up footpath next to James Wilks House resurfaced to allow disabled residents using mobility scooters to access local shops and their nearby doctor’s surgery safely.
Rex died in June at the age of 74 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, at the end of his mayoral year in 2011.
Inaugurating the Rex Barnett Walk, council leader David Renard remembered his close friend as a determined man who never took no for an answer.
“Rex loved Haydon Wick and Swindon and that ethos ran through everything he did and said,” he said. “This site marks his final achievement.
“Rex understood that the many people who live in this area had mobility problems and that traversing this path to and from the facilities was a real challenge for them.
“He kept battling away until he could find the resources to get the work done. I am delighted that we were able to name this footpath after him. He made a huge contribution to bettering our lives.”
A host of councillors as well as South Swindon MP Robert Buckland joined Rex’s wife, Sandra, daughters Sara Wicks and Alison Pewsey and grandchildren Jack, 20, and Charlie, 13, in paying homage to the politician at the small ceremony.
Alison, 47, travelled from Texas in the US for the occasion.
Sandra, 70, said: “Rex did love Haydon Wick.
“He was really worried about the residents.
“I am sure he is out there looking down now feeling happy that something has been done.”
His daughter Sara, 48, said she was pleasantly surprised to see the signpost bear the words ‘mayor of Swindon’ below her father’s name.
“It has been quite emotional,” she said.
The footpath was completed as part of a £2,500 resurfacing programme in the Haydon Wick area.
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