Published: 00:00, 30 June 2016
| Updated: 10:02, 30 June 2016
Tributes have been paid to popular former Mayor of Sandwich Cllr Joe Trussler, 74, who died on Monday.
The serving town councillor, whose full name was Maris Brian Trussler, was instrumental in many schemes to make the town a better place after first being elected in November 1997.
Mayor of Sandwich Cllr Paul Graeme said: “Whether participating in the ancient traditions of the town or championing local improvements, Joe Trussler was never less than absolutely committed to all he did.
“We have lost a passionate advocate for our town who could back up his passion with an incredible amount of experience in local government and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of Sandwich. Above all, though, we have lost a good man.
“On behalf of Sandwich Town Council, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Sandra and to all Joe’s family and friends. He will be greatly missed.”
“We have lost a passionate advocate for our town who could back up his passion with an incredible amount of experience in local government and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of Sandwich. Above all, though, we have lost a good man." - Mayor Paul Graeme
A statement from the town council said he valued a personal connection with residents and businesses and preferred telephone conversations or face-to-face meetings rather than more impersonal communication by email.
Tracey Ward, Sandwich town clerk from 2002 to 2012, worked with Cllr Trussler for three years during his time as mayor and said he was passionate about Sandwich.
“He loved the town so much,” she said.
“He fought so hard to get everything he felt it deserved. He will be very sadly missed by the council for his wealth of knowledge.”
Cllr Trussler, a Conservative, lived in Dover Road and leaves a widow, Sandra, three step-children and three step-grandchildren.
He was first elected as a town councillor in November 1997 and served without break until he died at home, in line with his wishes, on Monday evening.
He was deputy mayor of the town from 2000 to 2002 and mayor in 2002/03. He was returned as mayor again for 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10. He was also a district councillor for Sandwich from 1999 to 2003.
Key projects that Cllr Trussler championed and pushed forward included saving the public conveniences and welfare facilities on the Quay, clearance work along the ancient Delf Stream, resurfacing of the walkways around the historic town walls and construction of a pram-friendly link path between the Woodnesborough Road entrance to The Butts and the Co-op car park, and the revival of the Thursday market and its relocation to the Guildhall forecourt.
Cllr Trussler was also instrumental in increasing the size of the Black Lane allotments site, and judged the annual allotments competition.
He was part of the committee that lobbied successfully for the installation of the town’s new flood defences and represented Sandwich Town Council on the Dover District Local Development Framework Policy Advisory Group, speaking out against what he considered to be over-development.
As mayor, Cllr Trussler raised significant amounts of money to support the town’s charities and good causes.
He promoted Sandwich across the county and beyond, and reinvigorated local links with the Royal Engineers, historically based at Richborough Port, presiding at their Freedom Parade in 2004.
He sought to reduce anti-social behaviour around Sandwich by practical means, such as pressing for improved lighting on the Butts and around the Town Trail. Less well known is that he would also do whatever he could personally to help local homeless people.
Cllr Trussler was also a former fireman, and had served Sandwich Fire Station in Ash Road as a sub officer.
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