Final farewell to popular town mayor

HUNDREDS of mourners have said an emotional goodbye to Colchester's mayor Peter Crowe who died of cancer at the age of 72.

Annie Davidson

HUNDREDS of mourners have said an emotional goodbye to Colchester's mayor Peter Crowe who died of cancer at the age of 72.

It was standing room only at his funeral at St Mary the Virgin Church in Kelvedon yesterday as around 100 people had to stand outside and listen to the service on loud speakers.

Mr Crowe's coffin was carried in with a single wreath of flowers on it led by Colchester Borough Council leader Robert Davidson, carrying the mayoral chain on a cushion.

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Hymns including The Lord's my Shepherd and Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven were sung and Mr Crowe's son Charles read the poem, Baggy Point.

His daughters, Mary and Katharine, read Death Is Nothing At All by Canon Henry Scott-Holland, which begins: “Death is nothing at all...I have only slipped away into the next room.”

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Kevin Bentley, who was ward councillor for Birch and Winstree ward alongside Mr Crowe, gave the eulogy and talked of his memories of his “wonderful, caring, funny and extraordinary” friend.

He spoke of Mr Crowe's love of his family - his wife of more than 40 years, Margaret, children Charles, 37, Katharine, 39 and 41-year-old Mary, and his grandchildren.

“He loved them so very much and was proud (of them) and never stopped talking about that pride,” said Mr Bentley.

He said Mr Crowe had told him “whatever your ambitions and whatever is happening in your private life, your duty to people must come first.”

“Never has this sentiment come home to me more than right now,” added Mr Bentley.

Tributes had flooded in following Mr Crowe's death on September 15, some of which Mr Bentley read out to the mourners, including “a gentleman, kind and generous, a really nice man, trusting and caring, a practical joker and the only person who looked like a mayor should look.”

He also listed some of Mr Crowe's achievements including seeing through more than 800 licensing applications when the drinking laws changed two years ago and bringing in a standard livery for every Colchester taxi.

There was laughter as Mr Bentley added: “We spoke two or three times a day even when we were on holiday with one difference - if Peter was abroad and paying overseas charges the conversation was short, to the point and over in a few minutes.

“If I was abroad and paying overseas charges however, he kept the conversation going for hours!”

Mr Bentley said he now missed the calls, adding that whenever his phone rang he would catch himself wondering if it would be Mr Crowe.

Prayers were said by Rev Dr Chris Garland who also spoke of Mr Crowe's public spirit and sense of duty to the people he represented.

His coffin left the church to the hymn Jerusalem. A private burial for just family and close friends was also held yesterday.

A new mayor to replace Mr Crowe, who lived in Inworth, has not yet been appointed but the matter could be discussed at a council meeting on October 8.

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