A Haywards Heath member on West Sussex County Council has died after a period of ill health.
Councillor John de Mierre was the third county member to die since May.
Mr de Mierre represented Haywards Heath East for the Conservatives and was also a well-known businessman who helped promote the trade of the town.
County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith described Mr de Mierre, who died from pneumonia on Thursday, as ‘a lovely man and a talented politician, with a good sense of humour, keen wit and intellect.’
It was the second time he had been a member of the County Council. He first held the seat in May 2005, becoming Vice-Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Select Committee in December 2006 and then Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning in October in 2007.
Mr de Mierre took on the Cabinet Member role for Adults’ Services from April 2008 until he lost his seat in the 2009 elections. However he was re-elected in May this year, and served as Chairman of the Environmental and Community Services Select Committee. In July he chaired a webcast meeting of the committee as it debated plans for the proposed Rampion offshore wind farm, describing it as one of the biggest planning applications that Sussex had seen for many years
However ill health forced him to stand down from the chairmanship last month – a role which has been taken over by Rustington councillor Graham Tyler.
Louise Goldsmith added: “I had been particularly delighted to welcome John back to the County Council in May. He will be missed by so many, and our thoughts are with his family today.”
Mr de Mierre was director of a marketing and communications company, and described his main interest as developing the future of the Mid Sussex community. He was keenly interested in sustainable economic development, and ensuring high standards in health and social welfare services.
He had also served on Mid Sussex District Council, and was a governor of two local schools Harlands Primary and St pauls, and served at Beechfield and Chalkhill centres. He had two sons and four grandchildren. Describing himself as loving the theatre and music, he was an ‘armchair fan of cricket, rugby and football.’
Mr de Mierre is the third member of West Sussex County Council who has died since the May elections. The others were former Cabinet Member Frank Wilkinson (Storrington) in July, and former County Council Vice-Chairman Mick Hodgson (Warnham and Rusper) in August.
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