Death announced of long-serving parish councillor

May 30 2017

TRIBUTES have been paid to long-standing community activist and parish councillor Cliff Phelps, who has died unexpectedly.

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TRIBUTES have been paid to long-standing community activist and parish councillor Cliff Phelps, who has died unexpectedly.

Mr Phelps had served on Dodington Parish Council since 1999 and was thought to have been one of the oldest active councillors in the country, having reached his mid-90s.

The council said he died peacefully after enjoying a fun afternoon with his granddaughter.

In a statement, the council said: “His neighbour and friend was with him at the end and he just faded away without any warning.”

Councillor Phelps was born in Bristol and he worked at the Bristol Aeroplane Company before joining the RAF, serving as a pilot in combat in Syria and Lebanon in the early 1940s.

After being demobbed, he joined what was then the Gloucestershire Constabulary, first working in the Forest of Dean before moving to the Chipping Sodbury district in 1957 and serving in the town for 18 years.

He was involved in many local activities, from establishing Chipping Sodbury’s first youth club to re-forming Chipping Sodbury Football Club in 1963.

He set up Sodbury Vale Musical Comedy Club and was patron not only of that group but also the Sodbury Players and the Court Players.

After retiring from the police, Mr Phelps was appointed animal health inspector in what is now South Gloucestershire.

He was also a governor at Abbotswood Primary School and a governor and crossing patrol supervisor at a school in Frampton Cotterell. 

Mr Phelps was a brass band fan - he was the council’s representative within Dodington Parish Band - and a member of the Joint Cycleway Group, where he brought disability concerns to the design of cycle tracks as a wheelchair user.

Despite losing both legs, he never let his disability get in the way of his community involvement.

He became a councillor after the death of his wife, Kathleen, and last year said: “I have always enjoyed helping people and being with people. When I was asked to join the parish council, I jumped at it.”

Long-term colleague and friend, Councillor Paul Hulbert, said: "We shall miss him, his deep local knowledge and his great sense of humour.

“If he disagreed with something, he wouldn't be afraid to say so, but he would always be prepared to listen to the other side of an issue.”