Harwich: Town and district councillor, Les Double, dies

LONG-standing Labour councillor and former town mayor Les Double died on Saturday following a fight against cancer.

Mr Double served as a Harwich Town councillor for the last 22 years. He also represented Harwich West ward at Tendring District Council since 1995 and was party leader for 12 years until stepping down last May.

From 1997 to 2009 he served three terms as the town’s Essex County Councillor.

Despite being very ill, Mr Double chaired the meeting of the town council’s finance committee less than four weeks ago to oversee the setting of the precept for the next financial year.

Yesterday fellow councillors praised his “great strength and fortitude” and extensive achievements for the town.

In addition to being a councillor, Mr Double was a governor of the Harwich School and a director of the East of England Cooperative Society.

He also set-up Harwich Connexions - a transport co-operative for residents in the town

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A statement published on the Harwich Labour Party website read: “Les was the driving force behind so much of what has been achieved locally, including the remarkable Harwich Connexions, which was his brainchild.

“We feel a total sense of inadequacy in posting this brief tribute as we are fully aware that we are, at present, simply skimming the surface of all that Les achieved on our behalf and we are sure that more fulsome and appropriate tributes will follow over the coming days and weeks.

“At this moment it is really a case of trying to come to terms with such a massive loss to us all and to send our thoughts and prayers to Les’ family and friends.”

A number of tributes have been paid to Mr Double on Facebook.

One from Caroline Mole read: “Very sad news. I will always remember how dignified and upbeat he was in the face of his illness. My thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Another from Debbie Rotchell said: “Fitting tribute to a very special man, who loved Harwich and did so much for its people, much of which was unknown. R.I.P. old friend, you will be greatly missed.”

Mr Double leaves behind his wife Frances and two children.