PHILIP Emm, former Leamington mayor and founder of Leamington Lifeline has died peacefully at home aged 93 after a life full of service.
His wife Barbara was his dedicated partner in his political and Christian mission throughout their 67 years of marriage, most notably during his year as Leamington mayor in 1988/89. His mayoral charity made a very significant impact on the lives of people at risk at home by introducing Lifeline telephones in Leamington with funding to make them affordable, well before this technology was generally available.
Phil had been in the Army Cadets at Kingston Grammar School, so on leaving school was recruited below age by the Local Defence Volunteers, later the Home Guard, because they needed any sort of expertise for training the older men. He was then called up at 18 into the Royal Artillery, Signals and was trained at Bovey Tracey before embarkation on Christmas Eve 1942.
For the remainder of the war he served in North Africa and Italy. He was heavily involved in the Battle of Monte Cassino and was mentioned in despatches. His ties to his comrades were very important to him, and he and Barbara kept a reunion going for many years and remain in touch with the one remaining veteran and the widows of the others. They continue to refer to the baby of their group as ‘Young Pip’.
Working life as a chartered accountant with Rootes, subsequently Peugeot, brought him to Leamington in 1963. This cut short his time in Maidstone where he had been successful in becoming the first of many Liberal town councillors to follow. He was a strong believer in developing European friendships and participated in Civic Twinning when in Maidstone, as he did in Leamington. He served as president of Warwick and District United Nations Association.
Amnesty International was another organisation dear to his heart and donations have been invited in his memory. By example he led many others to write letters in support of prisoners of conscience and was a shining example of what it means to fight injustice.
He worked tirelessly through Dale Street Methodist Church in a number of roles, and has received tributes from very many people for his warm welcome and hospitality to strangers. He was a gifted Sunday school teacher of teenagers and spoke to them openly of his faith. For years he ran a youth club and discos that brought many teenagers from the streets around Dale Street and further afield. He will also be remembered as secretary and bus driver for Dale Street’s Age Concern Lunch Club.
His outstanding service to the church and the community was recognised by his selection to receive Maundy Money from the Queen at Coventry Cathedral in 1995.
Philip was a devoted family man and is survived by his wife Barbara, son and daughter, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Warm tributes were paid to him at his Memorial Service last week describing him as someone who always did his duty, but never considered it such because it did not occur to him to do anything less.
He will be very fondly remembered as a man who lived out his faith by taking the commandment to love one another very seriously.