‘Very popular’ former council chairman dies
- Credit: Archant
A former chairman of East Devon District Council has died.
Barry Willoughby, who was 90, served on the council for 17 years, during which time he also saw service as chairman of the Exmouth Town Committee – the precursor to Exmouth Town Council.
He was also a member of Devon County Council.
Barry, who died on Christmas Day, was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, on August 2, 1925.
The town is well-known as the birthplace of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Barry, who in later life stood as a Conservative councillor, went to school with the future Tory PM, and also worked as an errand boy at her father’s shop, which he lived opposite.
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After school, Barry joined the Grenadier Guards, at first to complete his National Service, then staying on as a full-time guardsman.
Towards the end of World War Two, he was stationed as a sentry guard at Windsor Castle, where he regularly saw King George VI, and would say ‘good morning’ to the then-Princess Elizabeth, and Princess Margaret.
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He then served in Germany after the war, before returning to Grantham to join his brother in a floristry business.
Barry then moved to Exmouth, and, after running a greengrocers for a brief period, became a teacher at Exmouth Community College.
He then stood as a councillor, enjoying a distinguished career, which also included a spell as chairman of planning at East Devon District Council.
After retiring as a councillor, he was made an honorary alderman by both the district and county authorities.
In his spare time, Barry was a keen golfer, and a member of Sidmouth Golf Club.
He had two children, Simon and Jane, and four grandchildren.
His wife Betty, the children’s stepmother, said: “He was very popular. He used to ride a bike around Exmouth until he was well into his 70s - and everybody knew him from that.
“He knew everybody, and everyone seemed to know him.”
Betty added that Barry was very proud of his children and grandchildren, and proud of his work as a councillor.
Barry’s funeral will be at Glenorchy United Reform Church, Exeter Road, on Tuesday, January 12, at 2pm.