Mayor was passionate about doing the right thing

PUBLISHED: 12:21 11 November 2008 | UPDATED: 22:35 15 June 2010

HONITON is a poorer place without first citizen Councillor Chris Tratt, one of the most honest, selfless and public-spirited residents the town has ever known.

HONITON is a poorer place without first citizen Councillor Chris Tratt, one of the most honest, selfless and public-spirited residents the town has ever known.First and foremost, Councillor Tratt was a family man - his devoted wife, Jean, his constant companion. He was a proud father and grandfather. He leaves two daughters, Clare and Julie, along with their families.In public life, doing the right thing for Honiton was Councillor Tratt's priority.The Honitonian would never put his name to anything unless he was sure it was for the long-term benefit of the town.He was elected to Honiton Town Council in 2003 and then, as a Conservative candidate, to East Devon District Council last year.He was passionate about Honiton's future and played a vital role in bringing CCTV to the town centre. Councillor Tratt worked hard on funding and other issues as a leading member of the Local Action Group, part of the Mid and East Devon Community Safety Partnership. He chaired the CCTV committee. He had a unique insight into the problems facing the town, having served for many years as a Special Constable.More recently, Councillor Tratt worked hard to try and secure land for future sports use. Honiton is notoriously short of playing pitches and he was very closely involved with plans to develop a sports hub; a plan backed by Active Honiton, Honiton Development Trust and a £50,000 grant from Devon County Council.A modest man, Councillor Tratt never sought praise for his work in the community, which was voluntary.He was happy to work behind the scenes and considered it a great honour when he was installed as Mayor of Honiton earlier this year.In his acceptance speech, Councillor Tratt described himself as "a man of action, not words". As always, he was speaking the truth.His legacy to Honiton will be his behind-the-scenes work; his utter commitment to doing the right thing for ratepayers.His untimely passing, as a serving Mayor of Honiton, is a tragic loss to both his family and the town.An extremely modest man, Councillor Chris Tratt did not want to make a fuss when it was revealed he needed surgery to correct a leaking heart valve.In his usual, quiet way he privately informed this newspaper that he may be out of action for a few weeks, while he underwent surgery and took time to recover. He did not seek publicity and informed the Herald out of courtesy.Unfortunately, Councillor Tratt contracted a minor cold shortly before the operation date and it was postponed.He and his wife, Jean, along with town crier Dave Retter, took part in Honiton and District Carnival before he was eventually admitted to Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, and the procedure was carried out.Councillor Tratt appeared to be recovering well at home when he died suddenly last Friday morning. Mrs Tratt is completely devastated but, in her usual, dignified way, personally informed the Herald of his death.Councillor Chris Tratt worked for himself, latterly repairing lawnmowers. He grew up in Combe Raleigh and was keen on countryside pursuits. He also had a passion for motorbikes.

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