Play area dedicated to village councillor

A new village play area will be opened on Thursday just hours after the funeral service of the controversial parish councillor who secured the cash to pay for it.

Councillor Roderick ‘Rick’ Humphries, a former chairman and current vice-chairman of Cheveley Parish Council died suddenly at his home on Sunday, May 18. He was 72.

His funeral service will be held at the parish church just before new youth play equipment is opened and dedicated in his memory on the recreation ground.

Parish clerk, Dianne Marshall, said Cllr Humphries had been instrumental in securing a £28,000 grant towards the cost of the equipment from a community fund run by waste management firm AmeyCespa.

“He was a force for good,” she said. “He did question lots of things and made people think but the Cheveley community was in his soul.”

But Cllr Humphries time as a councillor was not without incident. Two years ago a disciplinary panel found he had bullied council colleagues on more than one occasion and brought the authority into disrepute.

Earlier this year he was told by the council he should provide his expenses claims more promptly after he presented a claim for £2216.78 for approval for ‘purchases and expense made in 2013-14 on behalf of Cheveley Parish Council.’

Council chairman Cllr David Keith said: “His loss is a devastating blow to this council not least because he was a catalyst for its change.

“This council’s continuing efforts to improve the parish may be a fitting epitaph to Rick.”