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Tributes paid to community stalwart, Bob Eccles, 84
A COMMUNITY stalwart who served on Ryedale District Council for 22 years has died, aged 84.
Bob Eccles was elected to Rawcliffe Parish Council in York in 1963 and continued in office – for many years as chairman – until his death at the weekend.
He also served for 35 years as a district councillor – 10 years on Flaxton Rural District Council, then 22 years on Ryedale District Council and finally four years on City of York Council.
His family said he played a key role in the development of Clifton Moor in York from an old airfield into one of the area’s largest retail parks, saying his “determination, vision and drive helped to make the development a reality”.
He also fought successfully to secure the provision of Rawcliffe Lake in the city to assist in the surface water drainage system and to ensure land was provided for local recreation.
Mr Eccles served as a school governor for a total of 37 years, at Clifton Without School, Canon Lee School and Rawcliffe Infants, where he was chairman for 34 years.
“He continued to serve his beloved community of Rawcliffe well into his 85th year, with the passion and commitment he had always shown to his public service,” said his family.
Between 1994 and 1997, he also represented York on the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels.
His family said Bob was once quoted as saying: “Responsibility recognises no calendars – it continues through every minute of every day of every decade.”
In 2008, he was presented with an engraved pewter Fellowship Cup as a special award by the Lord Mayor of York, Coun Brian Watson, in recognition of his efforts and commitment. He also contested the Newcastle-upon-Tyne North seat as a Labour candidate in 1966 and 1970 and Bishop Auckland in February 1974, and had strong trade union principles, becoming vice-chairman of the York branch of the Transport Salaried Staff Association.
He worked as a work study engineer for the Chief Civil Engineer’s Department for the whole of the Eastern Region of British Rail.
He was happily married for 58 years to Eileen before her death in June 2009, and was a devoted father and grandfather to four grandsons.
Mr Eccles’ funeral will take place at 1.40pm on Tuesday at York Crematorium.