Tributes to 'passionate' former Lyme Regis mayor, Stan Williams

Stan Williams

Cllr Williams was made an Honorary Freedom of the Town of Lyme Regis - Credit: LRTC

TRIBUTES have been paid to veteran town councillor and former Lyme Regis mayor Stan Williams, who has passed away aged 87.

Cllr Williams' passing, on Sunday, January 16, came after he was recently granted the Honorary Freedom of the Town of Lyme Regis, the highest honour the town council can bestow.

The granting of the freedom acknowledged the exceptional service Cllr Williams has given to Lyme Regis Town Council (LRTC), having first been elected in 1969.

The mayor of Lyme Regis, Cllr Brian Larcombe MBE, led the tributes to Cllr Williams.

He said: "Stan was passionate about Lyme. He committed his whole life to the interests of the town and its residents. 

"He served on the council for over 50 years, bringing to it a special insight and experience of the town he knew so well.

"He was awarded the Freedom of the Town last year to mark the significance of his service and contribution to Lyme Regis and its council.

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"He was very much his own person and true to his beliefs. He would often bring a thought or idea to council that had eluded others and with it a solution or level of sense that might otherwise have escaped the debate.

"Incisive and so often right if not always immediately appreciated – some simply needed a bit longer to 'get there'. We’ll miss Stan for this; along with the time and support he gave to local groups and charity fundraising over the years.

"I will personally miss his friendship, support, determination, ability and humour, and the personality that was Stan. Wendy and I offer our sympathy and condolences to Anita, Paul, Shirley and family."

Cllr Williams joined the council when it was Lyme Regis Borough Council and oversaw many of the changes brought about by local government reorganisation in 1974.

It was thanks to Cllr Williams' determination and resolve that LRTC enjoys much of the financial independence it has today; as chairman of the Recreation Committee he fought long and hard to retain income-generating assets.

Over the years he continued to make his mark, becoming mayor from 1997 to 1999, also serving as deputy mayor and chairman and vice-chairman of several committees and working groups.

He remained passionate about land and property related issues, particularly the Monmouth Beach area, and he wasn’t afraid to put up a fight against the district and county councils.

Cllr Williams' real passion was for Lyme Regis and grass roots issues, having grown up and attended school in the town. He first attended St Gilda’s Catholic School in the town, before going on to Lyme Regis Grammar School.

After serving two years in the Royal Air Force, he ran various businesses in Lyme Regis, including the Beachcomber Restaurant, where many local young people experienced their first taste of the working world as he gave them their first jobs.

He represented the town council on many local organisations and was a strong advocate of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and the Axe Valley and West Dorset Ring and Ride, also serving as a trustee on both organisations.

Cllr Williams was a strong believer in tradition and had the greatest of respect for the council’s civic practices and the mayoral role.

Outside of the council chamber, Cllr Williams was chairman of the Woodmead Halls Management Committee for more than 20 years, a RNLI crew member and was part of the team which built the first lifeboat in Lyme Regis, he was a member of the sailing club and the Royal British Legion and in his younger days and played for Lyme Regis Football Club.

Town clerk John Wright said: "Cllr Williams' knowledge and presence will be sorely missed in the council chamber and the wider community and all councillors and staff at Lyme Regis Town Council wish to pay respect to his dedication and commitment.

"Our thoughts are with Cllr Williams' family and friends at this sad time."