A COUNCILLOR who passed away after living in Alcester for more than 50 years has been described as an ‘absolute inspiration.’
Sir William Lawrence, who served on Stratford-on-Avon District Council for 32 years, died on Tuesday (February 10) at the age of 60.
The Conservative member was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2003 for his service to the tourist industry and became the 5th Baronet following his father’s death in 1986.
He represented the ward of Aston Cantlow after being first elected at the age of 27 and is the longest serving councillor, as well as being the only councillor to become chairman twice.
Despite contracting polio at the age of three, which confined him to an electric wheelchair, he went on to travel the world and take on roles such as becoming a member of South Warwickshire General Hospital NHS Trust, a governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, as well as chairman of the Heart of England Tourist Board.
In February 2005 he married Tamara Bubashvili from Tbilisi, Georgia.
Coun Mike Gittus, who is a member of the Conservative part and was Mr Lawrence’s neighbour, said he was well-known and respected by those living in the area, councillors and the ward he represented.
“He had the remarkable ability to remember the names, identify and telephone numbers of anyone he ever met. He always remembered who that person was,” he said.
“He met Tamara and they fell in love and married. They were a loving couple, a love match. He was very proud when he was accompanied by her and she has supported him continually in everything he did.
“He never allowed his disability to stand in the way of anything he ever did. He had a full time job, he was a full time councillor and he travelled the world. He was an absolute inspiration. He fought the cause and corner of those who were in a similar situation, but never once played on his disability or allowed it to stop him in anyway.”
Coun Chris Saint, leader of the council, added: “He was very much the father of the Stratford-on-Avon District Council Chamber due to his long service.
“His contributions were valued by his peers at all levels.”