Councillor who served for 34 years remembered as a ‘kind and decent man with a fantastic sense of humour’

The wife of a Mid Sussex councillor who died in May has paid tribute to him as a man with ‘a wicked sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye’.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 2:41 pm
Andrew MacNaughton served on Mid Sussex District Council for 34 years
Andrew MacNaughton served on Mid Sussex District Council for 34 years

Andrew MacNaughton, who represented Ardingly & Balcombe, was 71 when he died, and had been the longest serving member of the council by many a year.

During a meeting of the full council on Wednesday (June 30), councillors paid their own tributes to Mr MacNaughton, with leader Jonathan Ash-Edwards reading a statement from his widow, Jane.

Mrs MacNaughton spoke about her husband’s tireless work around planning and affordable housing – ‘plodding along quietly in the background one step at a time’ – and how he was a team player but always willing to fight his corner.

She added: “He would say if you stick your head above the parapet, which he did regularly, expect it to get shot at. You cannot please everyone. Do not promise what you can’t deliver and don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand.

“After 34 years, he would still have to ask. Things change and you are always learning.

“If that makes him sound ordinary he wasn’t. He had a wicked sense of humour, a twinkle in his eye and was never intentionally unkind.”

Mr MacNaughton served as cabinet member for housing and planning and was well known for his efforts to bring more affordable housing to the district.

The council’s flag was flown at half-mast following his death, and councillors observed a minute’s silence when the meeting started.

Paying his own tribute, Mr Ash-Edwards said: “I know that councillors and officers will remember Andrew very fondly, most particularly as some one who was in public service for the right reasons.

“He was a very kind and decent man, had a fantastic sense of humour and some one who was very willing to share his expertise and his experience.”

He added: “Legacy is a very over-used word but I think your real legacy can often be under-appreciated.

“Andrew’s legacy in Mid Sussex will be very significant.

“He can rest very proud of his work in Mid Sussex and we will ensure that his service is appropriately marked in his community.

“We will miss him very much.”

A by-election will be held next week (Thursday July 8).