We were shocked and deeply saddened yesterday to hear of the sudden death of County Councillor John Reynolds while on his way home from a family holiday in Australia.
John, only 69, was the County Councillor for the Bar Hill Division, which includes Boxworth, Dry Drayton, Girton and Lolworth. He was one of the Council's longest serving Members, having been first elected on 7th May 1981.
Fittingly, the County Council is flying its flag at half-mast for the rest of the week and on 19th December, the day of his funeral.
Colin Barker, who knew John Reynolds from his very early days in politics, writes:
The sudden and unexpected death of Councillor John Reynolds has left many people in a state of shock. I am deeply upset, as I knew John from the early days of his political life in Cambridge, where we were both members of the City Association in the late 1970s. I well remember John winning the Coleridge Division in the County Council election of 1981. It was a cliff hanger result, but John's dogged determination and sheer hard work won the day.
His work during the 1983 General Election campaign in Cambridge was tireless, and was a forerunner of his dedication and commitment to the Conservative cause in South Cambridgeshire. When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said 'There is no greater calling than public service', he epitomised John perfectly.
John was a great public servant. He was a tireless, dedicated and knowledgeable County Councillor from his first election in 1981 to his untimely death. That is over thirty three years of unstinting service. Whenever there was a seat to be fought, some campaigning to be done, or a candidate in need of help, John would be one of the first to offer help.
John and his wife Diana also trained many a 'Guide Dogs For The Blind' dogs, several of which some of us came to know over the years. This was another side to John, and showed even more deeply his commitment to others less fortunate than himself.
My sincerest sympathy to Diana, and the family. They must be devastated. It is often said that no-one is indispensable. That may be true, but John Reynolds was one very special person who was a near to indispensable as it is possible to be.
He will be missed more than we realise. John was my friend, and a colleague working for the Conservative Party for many years. My words are not enough to express my heartfelt thanks to him. I was privileged to know him. John was a Man - in every sense of the word.
The Rt Hon Andrew Lansley CBE MP pays a personal tribute to Cllr John Reynolds:
We are all shocked and saddened by John’s sudden death. He was a strong advocate for his constituents, and a tireless campaigner for the Conservative Party, particularly as a County Councillor. He was instrumental in the successes of Cambridgeshire in building our economy and infrastructure in recent years.
Most of all, he was a friend and ally in so many local campaigns. We are deeply sorry and are thinking of Diana and the family at this time.
He will be much missed.
From Denise Smith, personal assistant to Stephen Frost, the SCCA Agent, in the Hardwick office:
I was stunned to hear the sad news of John Reynolds death. John was not only a colleague but also a friend; he would help anyone if he could. I will miss his visits to the office and his jokey ways. My thoughts are with Diana at this time.
From Iris and Eric Lay, long-time Bar Hill residents and supporters of the local Conservative Party:
John was Bar Hill – he was everyone's support – if he couldn’t deal with your problem he would find a man who could. He will be sorely missed by everyone. He was a dear friend and life will just never be the same again.
From Roger Hall, District Councillor (with Bunty Walters) for Bar Hill Ward:
It was with shock and disbelief that I was asked to relay the news of John Reynolds’s death around the villages, which he so conscientiously represented as their County Councillor for nigh on 30 years.
My own personal friendship with John goes back beyond 1985 when he became the County Councillor for the Bar Hill Division to when we were fellow altar servers in Great St Mary’s Church in the late 1960s. I am perhaps one of the few outside his family who remember him without a beard. As political colleagues we worked closely together. Although we had differences, these were always argued out in a spirit of friendship. Only a few months ago, he and his wife, Diana, shared a meal with us when discussion of politics was strictly taboo.
John rarely missed parish meetings, providing members with a report in advance on which he was always willing to answer questions put to him. Instantly recognisable, he always had time to stop and chat with residents, even if it was about one of the dogs he was training to be a guide dog. Communication with his electors he considered essential, his regular newsletters, while remaining apolitical, were a mine of Council information.
Well known is his hard work on the County Council and Police Authority. But nowhere will his loss be felt more than here in the Bar Hill Division, particularly in Bar Hill where he made his home. Having served alongside him for twelve years, as District Councillors, my colleague, Bunty Waters, and I will miss him more than most.
Please feel free to send your own tributes to John to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish them on this page.