Feature: Bill Whelan
Being a councillor meant everything to Bill Whelan.
So said Kay Berry today, after losing her partner of 26 years. The 62-year-old parish and county councillor and former borough councillor died on Saturday after losing his fight against cancer.
Both local councillors for Churchdown, where they lived, they shared their lives and a love of politics.
And Kay said you she could not understate how much Bill loved his council work.
he said: “It was what kept him going. It meant everything to him. It was his life’s work.”
An example of his dedication to the community he served, she said, was that last summer she booked a holiday for the couple to go on only to find out he wouldn’t go on it because it clashed with the Churchdown Fun Day.
Born in Berkeley and brought up in Cam, near Dursley, Bill lived in Gloucester before settling in Churchdown.
He had a fruit and vegetable van in Gloucester before spending many years working as a taxi driver. He owned his own firm in Cheltenham, Associated Taxis, before selling it to the 727 firm.
But it was his career in local politics which really rocked his boat.
Until he lost his Innsworth with Down Hatherley seat after two re-counts at last May’s Tewkesbury Borough Council election, he had served on it for eight years.
And until his death, he had been on the county council since 2005 and had been a member of both Innsworth and Churchdown parish councils since 2003.
Kay said Bill had a good sense of humour, which could be “quite devilish at times” and he was very protective of her.
She said: “He was very loving, kind and thoughtful.”
She added that Bill, who had two daughters from a previous marriage and had four grandchildren, was quite a private person and kept his family life separate from his council matters.
Details of his funeral are expected to be revealed soon.