Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sydney Pritchard CBE 1915 - 2007

Sydney Pritchard was the most committed elected representative that I ever knew. He was active in Local Government and represented Berriew on various Councils for about 60 years. He died yesterday in Welshpool Community Hospital aged 92 years. I called in to see him a few days ago, and it was obvious to me that he was becoming very frail - but his mind was as sharp as ever. I called in yesterday to deliver a Xmas card to Sydney, only to be given the news of his death. My overwhelming feeling was not so much of sadness, because he had lived a full life to a great age, and I had expected it. It was more a feeling that a very good man had gone and that I had been lucky to know him as well as I did.

It was Sydney who instigated my interest in public life. He and his wife, Jane lived on a neighbouring farm, the Bryn, and for many years, I used to call on Sunday evenings to talk about local issues - sometimes for hours on end. Jane would bring us tea and cakes. During the last few years, when his eyesight was deteriorating, she would drive him to meetings. Life became very difficult for Sydney when she died a few years ago. Jane herself knew a great deal about Council affairs. In my early 30s he encouraged me to become involved in local government. Later on, we disagreed about certain matters, when I was the Chairman of Montgomeryshire District Council and he was, in effect, the Leader of Powys County Council. Council officers used to say that discussions between us were rather like a game of verbal chess. I always had the greatest respect for him, as did everyone else who knew him. To disagree with Sydney required a huge amount of preparation and attention to detail. He would celebrate any 'victory' over me with no more than a barely discernible smile, which only I understood. However, we agreed most of the time. He taught me a lot.

Sydney was unfailingly polite to everyone. I never remember hearing him utter a cross word, and it was necessary to know him really well to spot any low opinion he might have had of anyone. He was certainly the inspiration that led me to become involved in public life. He was the best councillor that Powys has seen during the 35 years that I have been aware of local affairs.


Savonarola said...

How invigorating and pleasing to read of a good politician whose cornerstone of political conduct was based on the good man that he was.

RIP Mr Pritchard - you have raised my Xmas spirit and reaffirmed my faith in the politician as an honest serving man.

Happy Xmas to Blogmeister and his family.

Glyn Davies said...

Savonarola - I never heard a bad word for Sydney Pritchard - disagreement combined with grudging respect yes. When I say he was the best public representative I have known, it was by a very large margin.

Our house is already groaning under the sheer weight of family - and a real pleasure for that. But I do sneak off to my office for a breather, which is why I will continue blogging over the festival!

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Taking Savonarola's lead, Happy Christmas Blogmeister and his family!