Former councillors get civic honour
Four long-serving former councillors in North Devon are now aldermen and alderwoman in recognition of their outstanding service to the district council and the people they represent.
Geoffrey Fowler, Yvette Gubb, Derrick Spear and Frederick (Joe) Tucker received the honour at a council meeting this week.
The title is a ceremonial honour that doesn’t entitle holders to special privileges or voting powers, but means they can attend civic functions and council meetings.
Cllr Malcolm Wilkinson (Lib Dem, Mortehoe) said two words epitomised Geoff Fowler: Ilfracombe and gentlemen.
“Geoff was totally dedicated to his community and still takes a great interest in Ilfracombe. He was on the town council too and chaired the Ilfracombe Harbour Board for many years with great dedication.
“Nobody had a bad word to say about him, he was always kind, considerate and had time to listen.
“This is a truly wonderful award for a truly wonderful Ilfracombe gentleman.”
Proposing Yvette Gubb for the honour, Cllr Malcolm Prowse (Ind, Bratton Fleming) said she was known as Mrs Combe Martin and now Granny Combe Martin.
She was a councillor from 1995 to 2023 and had been chair twice, and was said to be popular with all parties.
“In all my years as a councillor, Yvette was the best local councillor I have ever met. She did more for her community than most of us could ever dream of doing in our whole lifetime. Every time there was a problem she was there and that is why she used to win 85 per cent of the vote in the village.
“She was always so conscientious and understood the subject so well. I miss her terribly.”
Cllr David Worden (Lib Dem, South Molton) said Derrick Spear encouraged him to become a councillor and was a great help to him. He said he play a significant contribution to the council as a member and chair of committees and was a really good servant for Braunton over a very long time.
Cllr Julie Hunt (Lib Dem, Marwood) proposed Joe Tucker who represented the parishes of Marwood over a 20 year period.
She said he supported affordable housing both in Marwood and throughout North Devon.
“Joe was an excellent councillor who worked extremely hard, he was well respected and thought of and is very much missed. He was always willing to help and advise other councillors and he was a strong voice and never afraid to speak up for what he believed in. “
Mrs Gubb said she called the council “her escape” and had enjoyed herself as a member of the council and made lots of friends.
She said she was honoured to receive the award.
Geoff Fowler said since becoming a councillor in 1998 he had been involved on a town, district and county level and had enjoyed it “most of the time.”
His main disappointment was the council getting 98 per cent of the way to achieving a ferry crossing to South Wales and the biges success the new watersports centre at Ilfracombe.
Derrick Spear said it had been an honour to be a member of local government and give something back to the community.
“It would not be possible without good colleagues and it’s been a pleasure to work with the team at North Devon.”
Joe Tucker said it had been a privilege and honour to serve on the council for 20 years
“I would like to endorse the support I got from this council, nothing is ever too much trouble when you pick the phone up.”
He wished councillors who were elected in May the very best for the future as “times are not easy.”