A true gentleman and dear friend

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This week our whole community suffered a huge loss with the sad news that ex-councillor John Lee had passed away.

A man who served his country and community with honour and distinction.

I know I speak for many who will miss this gentle giant, a man of principle who throughout the time I knew him always offered good sound advice, but only if asked for, a man who believed in democracy, someone who would listen as well as speak.

I first met John in 2004 when he chaired the inaugural meeting of SOS (Save Our Seafront). I am sure everybody who attended that meeting will recall his ability and inspiring manner.

His skills of bringing together a community to express the concerns of all those who felt passionately about our town but did not have a voice.

His leadership of the Bexhill Alliance brought together people who wanted to protect our heritage while making positive suggestions for the future.

With his wife Sheila he worked tirelessly for our town because he cared, not for any personal notoriety, but because he believed that democracy would only work if all points of view were equally valued.

On numerous occasions he disagreed with those in power and thought right to the end that the West Parade Shelters were an eyesore. His enthusiasm inspired all those who believed that Bexhill should have a town council, sadly denied to us at this stage.

John had the gift and skills of language when debating, which earned him the respect of those who did share his views. Always polite, prepared to listen and accommodate another point of view, while still smart enough to retain the moral high ground.

I am sure many other friends will recall happy times with John, but from my point of view, I know we were all richer for knowing such a wonderful man, a gentleman, a wise scholar who believed in good manners, honour and fair play. In the 11 years I knew John he made an impression on me that will last for ever, a true gentleman and dear friend to so many.

Cllr Stuart Earl

Bexhill West

Rother District Council

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