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Friends pay tribute to local Labour stalwart Julian Spurrier

By Jodie Nesling

Touching tributes have poured in for the “extraordinary” and “irreplaceable” Julian Spurrier following his sudden death on New Year’s Eve.

The much-loved Labour stalwart had many friends in his home town of Whitstable, where he was an Honourary member of the town's Labour Club.

Mr Spurrier was also well-known further afield for his work as a visitor services officer at the Canterbury Heritage Museum.

Julian Spurrier showing a stick insect to visitors at Canterbury Heritage Museum
Julian Spurrier showing a stick insect to visitors at Canterbury Heritage Museum

The 71-year-old, who was also a former director of homelessness charity Porchlight, was renowned for his kind-hearted manner and community spirit.

Joanna Jones, director of museums and galleries at Canterbury City Council, said: “He was dedicated to providing excellent customer service and was kind and welcoming to all of the museum’s visitors.”

Mr Spurrier died at the Pilgrim’s Hospice on December 31 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

Gazette columnist Chris Stone, who had known him for more than 40 years, said: “Julian was extraordinary: possibly the most kind, the most welcoming, the most generous person I ever knew.

“He was also funny, irreverent, anarchic, mischievous and an old-fashioned gentleman, all at the same time.”

Whitstable Labour Club posted a tribute to Mr Spurrier on its Facebook page shortly after his death.

It read: “Julian knew that there was no simple, explains-it-all answer to the complicated problems in this world.

Canterbury Heritage Museum, where Julian Spurrier worked as a visitor services officer
Canterbury Heritage Museum, where Julian Spurrier worked as a visitor services officer

“In his heart, though, kindness meant everything and was the light he followed. Forget flowers, forget donations to charity, if you want to truly honour Julian’s memory just try to be kinder as you go about your life.”

Writing beneath the post, Wes McLachlan said of his friend: “Intelligent, capable, wise, but above all of these always kind. His caring guidance is an irreplaceable loss to the club, the party and our community.”

A generous spirit, Mr Spurrier was compelled to help those less fortunate, including through his work with Porchlight in the 1990s.

It was during this time, when a practising solicitor, that he made national headlines after he was jailed for stealing clients’ funds and using the money to help the homeless.

Members will gather at the Whitstable Labour Club tomorrow evening to remember Mr Spurrier. Non-members will be welcomed as guests.

To find out more contact the club via Facebook/TheWhitstableLC.

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