Monday, 18 February 2019

Evergreen councillor dies at 85

Evergreen councillor dies at 85

A LONG-SERVING councillor has died, aged 85.

Tony Williamson, who joined Watlington Parish Council in 1989 and served as chairman for six years, passed away on Tuesday.

He had prostate cancer which had spread to his liver.

Canon Williamson, who lived in The Goggs, Watlington, had also served on Oxford city and Oxfordshire county councils.

He was ordained in 1960 and worked as an assistant priest in the Benefice of Icknield, taking  services in Watlington, Swyncombe and Pyrton.

He spent 30 years as a worker-priest in the Pressed Steel car factory in Cowley, Oxford, which is now the home of the Mini.

Watlington Parish Council chairman Matt Reid said: “He was a tireless servant of the town. He brought a tremendous energy. Even at his age, he put the rest of us to shame. He would cycle to every meeting.

He had a tremendous wealth of knowledge about how everything fitted together and what organisation you could go to to get things done.”

Rev Angie Paterson, honorary associate priest, said she enjoyed working with Canon Williamson in the Icknield benefice for more than 20 years.

She said: “He was, in my view, a very unselfish member of the community. He did what he did because he felt it was right. I admired him for that. He was a good man. He led an amazing life and if I do half as much in my life as he did in his then I shall be very happy. He was someone I was very fond of.”

Canon Williamson was involved with the Watlington & District Age Concern group and the Watlington and Chalgrove surgeries’ patient participation group and also sat on the Watlington Educational Foundation.

He was also closely involved in the onging transfer of the Charlotte Coxe Trust from Oxfordshire County Council to the parish council.

Canon Williamson was one of the original members of the county council when it was set up in 1973. He represented Labour in various seats in Oxford for 15 years.

He was also an Oxford city councillor and was the city’s Lord Mayor in 1982/3.

In the mid-Seventies he was involved in the structure plan that led to the reorganisation of planning and housing for the county.

In 1983 he became leader of the Labour group on the county council and two years later was joint leader of the council.

In 1987 he ceased to be leader and became co-chairman on the council’s education committee.

For his last nine years on the council he represented Blackbird Leys and was involved in the Greater Leys development, which he supported.

He left the authority in 1988 when he was appointed the diocesan director of education in charge of the team supporting the 270 church schools in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Canon Williamson was elected to Oxford City Council in 1961 and sat on its housing committee for almost 25 years, serving as chairman for about 11 years.

Oxfordshire County Council made him an honorary alderman, its highest honour, in 2017.

He was also an accredited representative for Unite, the union’s faithworkers’ branch.

Canon Williamson was married twice — to Barbara and Jill — who both predeceased him. He is survived by his four children and eight grandchildren.

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