Hundreds of people attended the funeral of a councillor who has served on Wellingborough Council for almost half a century.
Cllr John Bailey MBE died suddenly on July 11 following a short battle with cancer.
Family, friends and colleagues filled St Mary’s Church in Finedon for the funeral service led by the Reverend Richard Coles on Monday.
A band led the cortege from Cllr Bailey’s home in Finedon to the church, where members of Wellingborough Council were waiting outside to walk behind the coffin adorned with a large floral tribute made of white lillies.
As well as Wellingborough Council, representatives from numerous other councils and groups attended the service, including Northamptonshire County Council and East Northants Council.
The MP for Wellingborough and Rushden Peter Bone was also there, along with the MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire Tom Pursglove.
Former Northampton South MP Brian Binley, who went to school with Cllr Bailey, paid tribute to him during the service.
He fondly joked that Cllr Bailey was an ‘acquired taste’ and was similar to Marmite in whether you liked him or not, but that this had never bothered Cllr Bailey.
Mr Binley recounted Cllr Bailey’s achievements during his working life as well as his political career spanning 49 years of continuous service.
He also spoke of Cllr Bailey’s love of history, including publishing three books on Finedon, and gardening.
The Revd Richard Coles addressed the congregation and described Cllr Bailey, who was married to Barbara, as Finedon’s ‘Mr History.’
He spoke of the warm welcome he received from Cllr Bailey when he came to the parish and that Cllr Bailey would be the first person he would call with any question about the town’s history and heritage.
The service, which included the hymns Abide With Me and Onward Christian Soldiers, was followed by committal at Finedon Cemetery before family and friends gathered at The Bell pub to remember and celebrate Cllr Bailey’s life.
Flags were flying at half-mast in Finedon today, including at Finedon Conservative Club and at the heritage centre.
To read more about Cllr Bailey’s life, click here