TRIBUTE has been paid following the sudden death of Stratford reverend Neville Beamer.
The former honorary assistant minister for the Holy Trinity Church died on Wednesday.
Rev Beamer served as a ward councillor for Stratford Guild and Hathaway for eight years before stepping down in 2015. He was also chairman of the district council from 2012 to 2013.
He regularly attended council meetings after his retirement, recently standing in for the current chairman’s chaplain, if she was unable to attend.
Aside from his political roles, the reverend was the chaplain for Stratford Town FC, as well as charitable organisations including The British Legion and The Shakespeare Hospice.
The ‘staunch’ Everton fan has been described as ‘loyal, open-minded and affectionate.’
Former town mayor Ray Lodge said: “Inevitably we are all very sad at the passing from our midst of so radiant a personality as Neville.
“Neville was loyal. He had a remarkable sense of public duty and obligation. No one’s counsel was ever more widely sought and valued.
“Neville was a man of many enthusiasms who delighted in politics and in keeping himself informed about all the significant happenings of the day. His amazing vigour, his quickness and openness of mind, his affectionate concern for people of all ages, never deserted him.
“What we will all remember in common was his immense kindness, his generosity of heart and spirit, and what tremendous fun it was to be with him. He was a very humble man, quite unaware of the unusual personal charisma he possessed. His sense of fun was boundless. His enthusiasms were unflagging.
“Neville was without doubt, prodigal in his gifts, lavish in his generosity, wide in his interests, abundant in his energy and holy in his dedication. To Sheila and all the members of her family we offer our loving sympathy at a time of great sadness when so bright a light has gone out for them all. But life is eternal and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.”
Current district council chairman Christopher Kettle has also paid tribute.
He said: “Neville and I worked together on the council for only one year but I had the fortune to be able to invite him to lead a number of council prayers, in the absence of my own chaplain, and notably when we held a service to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
“This service was a first, in recent times, for the district council and Neville uplifted what might have been a brief parade into a proper service of commemoration on that great anniversary. Our thoughts are with his wife Sheila and his family.”
Stratford District Council leader Tony Jefferson added his passing was a ‘great loss to the community’.
Coun Jefferson said: “He was fully engaged at many levels, from his role as a vicar to his work as a former councillor and his unstinting support of the football club. He will be greatly missed by very many people and I will miss his sage advice and kind words.”