A minute’s silence was held and heartfelt tributes were paid to former council chairman Tony Boyce at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 29 October.
Remembering Tony Boyce
A larger than life character who made many friends and represented the council with distinction, Tony Boyce was described as an ‘East-End’ boy with a ‘larger than life’ personality by his friend Councillor Brian Rolfe.
Tony Boyce stamped his mark on the council as chairman in the year the Tour de France came to Epping Forest in 2014. Tony followed a family tradition of public service set by his father Sam, Mayor of Newham and member of the Greater London Council in the 1960s. His cousin Ronnie was a member of the West Ham United football team in the same era and Tony always remained very proud of his East London roots.
Councillor Mary Sartin, remembered him fondly as vice-chairman during her year of office and how well she and her husband got to know Tony and his childhood sweetheart Jan to whom he was devoted. Councillor Sartin described the football jokes between Tony and her husband John ‘who supported another team’.
She said that Tony would always be remembered for his sense of humour, jokes, quips and the glint in his eye. It was always a pleasure to be in his company.
Tony suffered a very serious stroke and was resuscitated before spending many weeks in hospital and months in convalescence before returning to the council chamber. Brian Rolfe remembered visiting him in Barts Hospital with Council Leader Chris Whitbread. They arrived to find him issuing a list of presents to be bought by Jan for all the nurses taking care of him.
Despite his recovery, Tony became unwell again last year after Jan passed away. Council Leader Chris Whitbread said ‘once met, Tony was never forgotten’ and his comeback from his stroke was testament to the man who would be sorely missed.
Most councillors had been unable to attend the funeral due to Covid restrictions, but Council Chairman Helen Kane thanked all those who turned out on the steps of the Civic Offices to pay their respects as his hearse drove past.
Representing the Council at the service, Helen Kane said it was a ‘warm and loving service among family and friends who loved him very much’.
Other items at Full Council
In other items, Council Leader Chris Whitbread provided councillors with further updates on the Council’s continuing support for the district during Covid. He also drew attention to the next round of Qualis consultation which begins on 2 November with news of the inclusion of a sports hall and squash courts in the proposed new leisure centre.
Free Christmas parking
Councillor Whitbread confirmed the 20p for 2 and half hours Pay and Display parking tariff would continue up to Christmas in support of the district’s high streets, while Cabinet Portfolio Holder Nigel Avey also confirmed free Christmas parking arrangements would be repeated again this year to support the local economy.
Members of the Cabinet answered a raft of questions covering subjects as diverse as new-build council housing, fly-tipping, foodbanks, homelessness and maintaining the safety of local residents over Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night.
Councillors endorsed the appointment of the new board of Qualis and received quarterly monitoring reports on the Council’s newly created and wholly-owned investment, management and development companies.
Royal Gunpowder Mills successful bid
Council Chairman Helen Kane completed the meeting with a report in her separate capacity as the council’s representative to the board of the Royal Gunpowder Mills with the announcement of a successful bid of £104,000 from the governments Cultural Recovery Fund.
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