A few days ago I heard the sad news that Roy Ford had died, Roy as many people will know was a past Mayor of Margate and was a TDC councillor and KCC councillor. I first knew Roy in 1983 when I joined the Labour Party and later I was to become his election agent when he first stood in Cecil ward and then for KCC in Margate Central. Once elected he adopted the "Spread Eagle" as the branch office and from there over a pint or two we would talk politics and he would tell me about his life. I suppose something I will always remember was his wartime experiences. As Roy was in the Parachute Regiment and fought at Arnhem , experiencing the full horrors of war including hand to hand combat to survive, then witnessing the death of friends. He also told me about Berlin and what is was like when the British occupied their sector after the Soviet occupation. There was carnage and dehumanisation everywhere something he would never forget. I knew he never collected his medals after the war and could never stand in front of a war memorial because the emotion was to much. It was only when he become Mayor of Margate that he attended a Remembrance Sunday and stood in front of a war memorial for the first time. All I can say is his eyes said it all.
Roy had a brilliant mind and was a bit eccentric at times but he would never admit it . I loved his conviction and he was a true Democrat believing that because someone disagrees with you it doesn't make them your enemy. He got on well with Councillors in other parties and he was fun to be with, I think colourful would be the right term.
As Mayor of Margate he modernised the Mayoralty, including conservation of some of the artefacts and this included taking an interest in conserving tradition. Infact he made the Charter Trustees more relevant to the people of Margate. Palm Bay School was also his idea and so was Westwood Cross. But at the end of the day he was a great bloke, had a good life and his family can be proud of him.
Roy's funeral is at St John's Church Margate on 15th October at 11:15.