The week commencing Monday 9th of February 2015 began as normal for me, with administration and Committee meetings planned. A quiet week of Mayoral functions.
I was not to know that a final chapter in the History of Crawley was about to be written, my long time colleague Bert Crane had been very unwell for a couple of weeks, but Sunday had seen an improvement in his condition, and many family and friends visited him. I was therefore deeply saddened to receive a phone call on Tuesday night from his wife Valerie, to tell me that Bert had passed away at about 10. 30pm.
A familiar figure in West Green, the ward he represented without break for 58 years. Social Housing and Planning were his great passions and he worked tirelessly to ensure that Crawley was the best in both of these fields.
Greenacres sheltered housing scheme was his brainchild and proud achievement.
He was also a passionate Fulham supporter and travelled to London until recent years to watch them.
As Secretary to the Labour Group on Crawley Borough Council for over 40 years he worked alongside many Chief Executives and Council Leaders including Alf Pegler. Never allowing them to lose sight of socialist principles and aspirations.
There will be many tributes to Bert over the coming weeks, both formal and informal, many of us will have wonderful tales to tell of Bert’s utter dedication and service to Crawley and the Labour Party. He will be remembered in many ways for many things, his passion for Crawley, his total commitment to the Labour Party and his awful jokes. ‘Rest in Peace’ Bert you have earned it.