Former Leighton mayor Barry Fairchild has died

Leighton is mourning the loss of Barry Fairchild, a former mayor and prominent Liberal councillor for many years, who died last month.

Barry, 76, of Vandyke Road, was a Londoner, but came to Leighton in the early 60s where he pursued a long career in various forms of engineering.

He was interested in the community that had become his home and was persuaded to join the Liberal Party.

In 1972 he became the first Liberal councillor in Leighton Buzzard for many years when he was elected to represent Brooklands ward on the Leighton-Linslade UDC.

After local government reorganisation in 1973 he was elected to the newly-formed South Beds District Council and Leighton-Linslade Town Council and in 1979 became the town mayor – a proud moment for Barry and wife Sheila as the mayoress.

Barry was for many years chairman of governors at Brooklands Middle School, and he and Sheila were stalwarts of the PTA both there and later at Vandyke Upper.

When he retired, bedding plants took over in a big way and the growing number of greenhouses in the garden and a lot of hard work produced thousands of plants both for local outlets and for Barry and Sheila to sell at countless car boot sales.

Barry had been ill for several years but after an initial diagnosis that gave him only six to nine months to live, his usual determination turned that into four years.

Town councillor Peter Snelling, who gave the tribute at Barry’s funeral, said: “Barry was a man who if he took on a job would always do it well with hard work and determination. His efforts as councillor for the new community around Appenine Way in the 70s were remembered long after he retired from political life. He was one of my political mentors and his breakthrough led to many subsequent electoral successes.”