FORMER Mayor of Lyme Regis and the town’s longest-serving councillor, Stan Williams, has died at the age of 87.
Mr Williams’ daughter Anita confirmed that her father “slipped away peacefully” on Sunday morning in a care home in Seaton, where he had lived in recent months.
Anita and her partner Paul, with whom Mr Williams had lived for many years in Uplyme, were able to be at his side, and he had been able to talk to his other daughter Chrissie, who lives in Germany, via video chat shortly before passing away.
Mr Williams was taken ill shortly after being made an Honourary Freeman of Lyme Regis in August 2021, recognising more than half a century of service to the community.
He first joined what was then known as Lyme Regis Borough Council in 1969 and played an instrumental part in the local government reorganisation of 1974.
It was thanks to Mr Williams’ determination and resolve that Lyme Regis Town Council enjoys much of the financial independence it has today; as chairman of the Recreation Committee he fought long and hard to retain income-generating assets.
Over the years he continued to make his mark, becoming mayor from 1997 to 1999, also serving as deputy mayor and chairman and vice-chairman of several committees and working groups.
He remained passionate about land and property related issues, particularly the Monmouth Beach area, and he wasn’t afraid to put up a fight against the district and county councils.
Although he had not been able to attend meetings for several months, Mr Williams remained a serving town councillor.
Mr Williams attended St Gilda’s Catholic School in the town, before going on to Lyme Regis Grammar School.
After serving two years in the Royal Air Force, he ran various businesses in Lyme Regis, including the Beachcomber Restaurant – where the Blue Lias Gallery is now sited º where many local young people experienced their first taste of the working world as he gave them their first jobs.
He also played a signifiant part in the community outside of the council chamber, including in the development of the Woodmead Halls, of which he was life president.
In his younger days, Stan played for Lyme Regis Football Club and served on Lyme Regis lifeboat crew. He was a member of Lyme Regis Sailing Club and the Royal British Legion, and served as a Citizens Advice Bureau trustee and on the Axe Valley Ring and Ride Committee and Lyme Regis/St George’s Twinning Committee.
Anita said: “We are proud of his achievements and the man that he was; it was truly a life lived well and we are grateful for that and also that he is now at peace.”
The mayor of Lyme Regis, Cllr Brian Larcombe MBE, has led the tributes to Mr Williams.
He said: “Stan was passionate about Lyme. He committed his whole life to the interests of the town and its residents. He served on the council for over 50 years, bringing to it a special insight and experience of the town he knew so well.
“He was awarded the Freedom of the Town last year to mark the significance of his service and contribution to Lyme Regis and its council.
“He was very much his own person and true to his beliefs. He would often bring a thought or idea to council that had eluded others and with it a solution or level of sense that might otherwise have escaped the debate.
“Incisive and so often right if not always immediately appreciated – some simply needed a bit longer to ‘get there’. We’ll miss Stan for this; along with the time and support he gave to local groups and charity fundraising over the years.
“I will personally miss his friendship, support, determination, ability and humour, and the personality that was Stan. Wendy and I offer our sympathy and condolences to Anita, Paul, Shirley and family.”
Town clerk John Wright said: “Cllr Williams’ knowledge and presence will be sorely missed in the council chamber and the wider community and all councillors and staff at Lyme Regis Town Council wish to pay respect to his dedication and commitment.
“Our thoughts are with Cllr Williams’ family and friends at this sad time.”