Former Walton Society chairman Tom Phelps-Penry dies aged 79

Community stalwart: Tom Phelps-Penry

Community stalwart: Tom Phelps-Penry

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter - Richmond and Twickenham

A former county councillor who represented Walton for eight years has died aged 79.

Previous Walton Society chairman Tom Phelps-Penry, died in hospital on June 7 after having a stroke six weeks ago.

Educated at Radley College, Oxfordshire, before being called up for national service in the Royal Navy, Mr Phelps-Penry later graduated with a degree in languages.

Initially working in the export market, he then went on to teach foreign languages for 20 years before becoming governor at two schools in West Byfleet and later at Bell Farm School, Hersham.

Mr Phelps-Penry moved to Walton in 1998, living in Ashley Road, and served as the chairman of residents' association group the Walton Society from 2004 to 2005.

He was elected as the first Walton Society county councillor in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009.

While a county councillor, Mr Phelps-Penry was a member of the schools and community committee and the transport committee and took a special interest in the county council's adoption services.

Despite suffering from the onset of failing memory during his second term, Mr Phelps-Penry was determined to continue to serve the community.

He stood down in the May 2013 election, with Conservative Rachael Lake taking the seat for Walton.

Chris Sadler, Walton Society councillor for Walton Central, said: "My memories of Tom are of someone who held firmly to his principles, a man of great generosity, who enjoyed being able to help others.

"He was well read, one article he wrote about the sorry state of Surrey's roads, he prefaced with a quote from Coleridge, ‘Like one that on a lonesome road doth walk in fear and dread’.

"In short he was a man who deserved being called a true gentleman."

He leaves behind his wife Dada, two daughters and a son.

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