Tributes to popular Mid Beds councillor

'Death will be loss for council and for Flitwick'

The funeral of a popular councillor took place on Friday, after he was found dead at his home.

Coun John Watton, 55, had represented Flitwick East on Mid Bedfordshire District Council since 2003.

Fellow Liberal Democrats described him as a respected figure with "transparent honesty".

Coun Steve Mitchell (Lib Dem, Flitwick East) said: "He was such a nice bloke, and so intelligent.

"Without a shadow of a doubt his death will be a big loss for the council and a big loss for Flitwick. When he got into a subject he was like a dog with a bone. It is a great shame.

"He had a transparent honesty to him which you couldn't help but like, and he gave every issue 110 per cent."

Coun Watton was well regarded in Flitwick for taking an active part in a number of local campaigns during his time as a councillor.

As well as playing a prominent part in the fight to protect Flitwick Moor from a housing development, he was a loud voice in the efforts to rejuvenate Flitwick town centre.

Coun Watton had previously served on Liverpool City Council, and was a graduate of Cambridge University where he earned a first class degree in mathematics.

Coun Nigel Aldis, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the council, said: "He had a reputation for being straight-talking and for his strong contributions to council debates.

"If he felt it needed to be done, then he would always challenge officers and policies as strongly as he could. His biggest legacy will probably be the major part he played in preserving Flitwick Moor.

"We knew he had not been well for a while, but nobody expected him to die so suddenly. He was a popular member of the Lib Dem group and I know we will miss him."

The funeral for Coun Watton, who died on September 13, was at Bedford Crematorium. He is survived by his daughter Louise. His family have asked for any donations to be made to Alcoholics Anonymous.