TRIBUTE has been paid to one of Warwickshire County Council’s longest serving members.
Councillor Bob Stevens passed away on Friday (July 31) aged 79.
The dad-of-two had been a county councillor since 1997, deputy leader from 2005 to 2013 and chairman from 2015 to 2016.
He had also served two terms from 1992 to 1996 and 1999 to 2011 on Stratford District Council during which time he was also leader.
Bob spent a long career in the Royal Navy where he rose to the rank of lieutenant commander. He retained a strong interest in the armed forces and was heavily involved in the work of the British Legion as president alongside his council duties.
He also represented the county council as chair of the Coventry Solihull and Warwickshire Armed Forces Community Covenant joint committee, where public sector agencies pledge support and help armed forces personnel and was also president of the Warwick Royal Naval Association.
Bob was closely involved with Gallanos House in Southam, a care home for those with connections to the forces as well as Poppy Lodge, a similar facility in the area specialising in care for ex-armed forces personnel with dementia.
Besides the armed forces, Bob had a passion for sport, particularly cricket and rugby and encouraged many young people in his ward to get involved while giving his time to help officiate rugby matches.
While he had not been in the best of health for some time, Bob continued to serve the council. His work as chair of the Pension Fund Investment sub-committee saw him represent Warwickshire in a national scheme, establishing a more secure pension for Warwickshire’s workforce.
The council says memories will be of a sociable gentleman who was at home in the convivial atmosphere of a pub, notably The Blue Lias which was close to his home in Stockton. It has been said by many that much wisdom and kind support was dispensed there, along with the beer.
County council leader Izzi Seccombe says he will be sorely missed by all who had the good fortune to work with him in his many and varied roles.
She said: “Bob was a kind and helpful mentor to me in my early days of being a councillor. He always had time for anyone and was calm and considered at all times.
“His career was with the navy hence his particular interest in anything military. He was closely involved with Gallanos House in Southam and I am sure I am not the only one he has encouraged to go and see the excellent work they do.
“It will be just one of many lasting legacies that he leaves.”
Stratford District Council chairman Christopher Kettle added: “Bob Stevens will be remembered by many as a kind and effective councillor, and when someone has spent over 28 years of his life serving as a district or county councillor, one who was very dedicated.
“He is remembered fondly by those who knew him and will be greatly missed. I personally have known Bob as for many years as he was my county councillor, always ready to listen and to help, a valuable advocate for his residents and fellow councillors.
“Very conscious of his own naval background, his influence, particularly helping those former service personnel who were in need of support, was always appreciated. We will all miss him.
“He leaves a great example and legacy for us to follow and for which his family can justifiably be proud.”
Bob is survived by his sons Peter and Michael and his two grandchildren Corin and Tilly.