Councillors and staff pay tribute to ‘Mr Churchdown’

Councillors and staff at Gloucestershire County Council have paid tribute to Councillor Bill Whelan, who sadly passed away on Saturday, February 13.

Mr. Whelan, a Liberal Democrat member for the Churchdown ward, was first elected to the county council in 2005.

He served on the council’s appeals board and appeals committee, where he brought his knowledge of life as a taxi driver to his role in determining school transport appeals.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Jeremy Hilton, said: “Elected in 2005, Bill was an invaluable member of the Liberal Democrat Group.

Bill was fun, energetic and an enthusiastic councillor who served his constituents in Churchdown with flare and passion.

“Bill will be missed by many. My deepest sympathies go to all who knew him at this very sad time.”

One of Mr Whelan’s most notable achievements was establishing the GL3 Community Hub in Churchdown, which is recognised across the county and further afield as one of the most successful centres of its type.

Gloucestershire County Council will fly the Union flag over Shire Hall at half-mast on Wednesday in Cllr Whelan’s memory, ahead of full council meeting.

Peter Bungard, County Council Chief Executive, said: “Our thoughts are first and foremost with Bill’s family at this very sad time.

“Bill has been a great champion for Churchdown in so many ways. Perhaps the best example, and the subject of our conversation just days ago, is the fantastic community hub he has helped create at GL3.”

Mr Whelan sat on the Gloucestershire police and crime panel, was political group spokesperson for highways and flood, formerly political group spokesperson for finance and change, sat on the traffic regulation order committee and was a former member of the children and young people scrutiny committee and standards committee.

Leader of the county council, Councillor Mark Hawthorne, said: “Bill was a passionate and committed councillor, who served his local community extremely well for many years.

“He served on both Tewkesbury borough and county councils, and was always well liked and respected. My thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Lesley Williams, said “I was saddened to hear that Bill passed away at the weekend, and council meetings will not be the same without him.

“I have very fond memories of Bill, when we both sat on the school transport appeals body he was caring, and considerate and always put the needs of the young person first.

“He will be missed and I know that our group will want to send his family the warmest of thoughts at what is a very tough time.”

During his time at Shire Hall, he developed a great working relationship with officers and members, and was very well liked.

Councillor Alan Preest, leader of UKIP group, said: “I got to know Bill over the years as a first class, conscientious councillor whose passion in representing his people was there for all to see.

“He will leave a gaping void in the chamber and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with those closest to Bill at this difficult time.”

Leader of the Independent Group, Councillor Dave Prince, said: “This is a really sad loss and our condolences go to his family and friends.

“Bill worked incredibly hard for the community he represented, and knew how to get things done. He’ll be missed.”