Ex councillor’s sudden death
Tributes have been paid to a former Wootton councillor who died suddenly this week.
Liberal Democrat Paul Prescod represented the village after first catching the eye of Frank Branston, the first directly elected mayor of Bedford and current mayor Dave Hodgson, with his dedication to local youth football.
He lived in Wootton and had three children.
In 2008 his world changed forever when his eldest son Michael shockingly passed away from sudden adult death syndrome - an event he credited in an interview with this paper - with ‘turning his life around’.
He said: “For Michael, I turned my life around. He was my wake up call because I was mixed up in all different kinds of things.
“But with him I knew that I needed to keep pushing and pushing and make sure that I was the right role model.
“I knew that he wouldn’t have wanted me to just sit there, and he would have wanted me to push on. There’s not a day goes past that I don’t think of him. The only blessing is that he’ll always stay young.”
Prior to Michael’s death the youngster had complained to Paul that his less-able friends were being dropped from their football squad.
So,together with pals Paul Roddell-Brooks and Adam Boughton, Paul set up the Wootton Park Rangers team in 2004.
The side disbanded in 2009, but for Paul seeing many of Michael’s former team-mates taking their own children to training sessions with local clubs was a touching thing.
He said at the time: “The year before he died we put Michael and some of the others through their refereeing course - they all passed.
“By helping to start that team Michael helped turn people’s lives around, it was his idea. His friends are now bringing their kids along to the games. It’s very strange but it’s very beautiful too.”
Paul didn’t win when Frank Branston asked him to stand as an independent candidate - but in 2011 his political ambitions were realised when he stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate and won.
During his time as a councillor he was very active in his Wootton ward, and in 2013 used money from his ward fund to pay for phonics training for pupils at Wootton Lower School.
Bedford Borough Liberal Democrat Group leader, councillor Wendy Rider, said: “We were deeply saddened to hear this news.
“Our thoughts are with Paul’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.”
This week family members shared a Facebook fundraising page on behalf of his son to raise money for his funeral.
Friend John Spellman took to the group and posted: “Paul’s children started in the old Kempston Rural School with mine.
“Paul always did his best for his children and for Wootton over many years including getting investment for the rec ground and always fundraising to improve Wootton facilities for children.
“Most of the improvements that you have seen to the infrastructure of the recreational rround over the last 10 years is because Paul became a councillor and pushed for our village.
“A man with solid principles to help the community in my humble opinion.”
In 2015 Paul appeared before Luton Crown Court charged with sexual offences against a disabled woman.
He was aquitted of all charges in 2016.
At the time he said the allegations had changed his life, he had been suspended from Bedford Borough Council and was on medication for sleep and stress problems.
Mr Prescod died on February 26.
A post on the Facebook fundraising group from a family member said: “He touched so many hearts with his kindness. I am now asking you all to for your kindness, and you’re hearts to go out to his two sons.
“Unfortunately Paul never arranged life insurance or had a funeral plan. They are children that need help to bury their dad. Can you please help and donate, even if only a little to help them?”
If you would like to donate in memory of Paul you can visit Facebook and type in Fundraiser For Paul Prescod’s Funeral in the search bar.
This newspaper would like to express our deepest sympathy to Paul’s friends and family at this very difficult time.