Eric was a long-serving Conservative Councillor from Formby, indeed he served as a local councillor for over 50 years!
Sadly Eric died this week and having spoken with his daughter I was surprised to find out that what I thought of as simply a gesture I would have made to anyone in some distress had made such an impact on him.
You see Eric found himself deselected a few years ago as a Conservative candidate and this effectively ended his councillor career. I realised he was devastated by this and I fell into conversation with him about it on one occasion after a Council meeting. We discussed the odd and partisan nature of British party politics etc. etc. and I sympathised with his situation.
What I did not realise, until I spoke to his daughter today, was that this and a couple of similar conversations had meant so much to him as he had clearly told his family about them. For his daughter to get in touch with me whilst dealing with her grief was a wonderful gesture and one I very much appreciated.
Eric was a real gentleman as I knew him in his later years. He may well have been a political tough guy in the past but in my time as Leader of Sefton Council he was always polite with the odd amusing remark to make. In many ways he reminded me of Dave Martin the former Labour Leader on Sefton Council as my experience of Dave was rather similar despite both him and Eric being opposition councillors to me.
Politics has lost a decent man via Eric’s passing.