‘I could never thank him enough for his kindness and encouragement’ – Tributes paid to former Stevenage mayor who has passed away aged 76

Graham Clark as mayor of Stevenage in 2008

Graham Clark as mayor of Stevenage in 2008 - Credit: Archant

Politicians have paid warm tributes to former town mayor and Stevenage councillor Graham Clark, who has passed away at the age of 76.

Mayor of Stevenage in 2008, Graham was for many years a member of the Stevenage Conservative Party, and leader of the Conservative group on Stevenage Borough Council.

Current Conservative group leader James Fraser said of his friend and colleague: “I’ve known Graham for many years. He was then, and has always been, the kindest and most helpful person and councillor.

“He always offered me time, support, advice, care and endless friendship. I could never thank him enough for his kindness and encouragement, and I will try to emulate his group leadership through my own role as current leader. They are large shoes to fill, but I hope I am doing them justice.

“He had a successful year as mayor, with his wonderful wife Dilys in close support as always, and had a co-operative and understanding approach to local politics and a calming influence that transcended the politics of the council chamber.

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“He could always bring a rational and common sense conclusion to any issues he had to deal with.

“I, and the Conservative group, not to mention the entire council, will miss him terribly and will always remember him with great fondness and affection.”

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Born in June 1940 in Scunthorpe, Graham became the youngest-ever member of Pocklington Parish Council.

He moved to Stevenage in 1976 and married Dilys in 1981. He represented the Woodfield Ward on Stevenage Borough Council after its creation following boundary changes in 1999. and became leader of the Conservative group in 2000. He was captain of Knebworth Golf Club in 1995 and enjoyed watching football – he and Dilys were both regular season ticket holders at Stevenage FC.

Council leader Sharon Taylor said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Graham Clark.

“Although we were on different sides of the political fence, it was always clear to me that Graham’s commitment to our community and to Stevenage came before narrow party political instincts.

“The year that Graham and Dilys spent as our mayor and mayoress demonstrated their sincere support for our voluntary, community and business organisations and I know they particularly enjoyed working with schools and young people during that time.

“As our Leader of the Conservative group for many years, I found that Graham would be challenging when he felt it necessary but he was always courteous, honest and straightforward to work with, he also had a warm and clever sense of humour which caught me out from time to time!

“The courage and fortitude which Graham has shown during his illness and the love and care with which Dilys has looked after him have been an example to us all. My thoughts and prayers are with Dilys, their family and friends. Graham was a real gentleman who will be missed and I am grateful for his significant contribution to Stevenage.”

Graham leaves behind his wife Dilys, two daughters from his first marriage and two granddaughters.

Graham’s funeral is on Friday, May 12, at the Methodist Church in Sish Lane at 1.30pm, then at 2.45pm at Harwood Park Crematorium followed by a wake at Knebworth Golf Club.

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