Final farewells for local hero Bill Whelan

Mourners gathered at Gloucester Cathedral to celebrate the life of ‘true local hero’ Bill Whelan.

Mr Whelan died on February 13 after a battle against cancer. He was 62.

The Cathedral was packed with people paying their respects to the man who had become synonymous with Churchdown.

Speaking at the service, Mike Dawson, chief executive of Tewkesbury Borough Council, said: “Bill was a one man community success story. He was an exceptional man and a real force to be reckoned with.”

Mr Dawson worked with Mr Whelan at the council, where he was a councillor for several years.

He said: “Bill had friendliness by the bucket load. He made such a difference to his community, every role that he took on, he brought a difference.”

Mr Whelan had served on Tewkesbury Borough Council, Churchdown Parish Council and Gloucestershire County Council

Jake Fisher, who worked at the GL3 Community Hub in Churchdown, said: “Bill came into my life when he invited me to have an interview at the hub for a job.

“He helped to give me so much confidence and I was able to believe in myself.”

Mr Whelan often helped out at the community hub.

Mr Fisher said: “Even during his illness he came in to help at the hub. The whole hub will miss him greatly.”

Mr Whelan was involved in many projects in Churchdown, including setting up the GL3 Community Hub and the community skatepark.

Rebecca Trimnell, a political assistant for the Liberal Democrats at Shire Hall, said: “Bill was dedicated, energetic and passionate fun loving man.

“He often told me that he was the parish chairman of the independent republic of Churchdown.”

Councillors from county, district and parish councils were there to celebrate the life of a man who worked tirelessly for his community.

Mrs Trimnell added: “He had the ability of getting things done, the seemingly impossible things he managed to achieve.

“I am so privileged to have known the man. He will never be forgotten to those that knew him.”