Published: 00:00, 22 August 2014
| Updated: 10:00, 22 August 2014
A family is mourning the loss of a man who lived for politics but always put his loved ones first.
Cllr John Muckle, 81, who represented Priory ward, was well respected and liked across the political spectrum in Dartford.
A loyal Labour member, he was known for playing a pivotal role in building the Orchard Theatre, the development of Bluewater Shopping Centre and bringing Fastrack bus services to the area.
He died last Thursday after losing his battle with cancer.
Cllr Muckle, of Farnol Road, Temple Hill, was passionate about the community and fighting for those who did not have a voice.
His son Tony, 50, said he always had time for his family no matter how busy his schedule.
He said: “He could be serious but he was very family orientated, not just with his immediate family but with his wider family too. He loved barbecues and he always made time for us.
“His social beliefs were the main drive and he believed in community and servicing the people who weren’t so well off.”
Cllr Muckle enjoyed a long and illustrious career in local politics which included becoming leader and deputy leader of the council, mayor and deputy mayor, chairman of planning, leader and deputy leader of the Labour party in Dartford, chairman of the town twinning association and chairman of the patients’ participation panel at East Hill surgery.
He was also recognised by the Labour party with a lifetime commitment award and was made honourable alderman for Kent by Kent County Council.
Aside from politics the father-of-two and grandfather-of-four had a passion for Dartford FC and also camping, spending many happy memories on caravan trips in his later years.
He was also a talented craftsman, especially in carpentry.
Cllr Muckle started off his working life as a pattern maker during an apprenticeship at Spinks in Dartford before moving on to Alpha Pattern in Northfleet, after two years National Service in the Royal Air Force at RAF St Athan in Wales.
Tony said: “He built this house inside from when we moved in about 40 years ago. He had a workshop down in the garage where he loved to work with wood. He was very handy.”
After his time as a pattern maker he also worked as a housing officer for Southwark council in London.
Cllr Muckle was born in Chislehurst and lived in Surrey before moving to Dartford as a young man where he met his wife Ann at a youth club in Lowfield Street.
The couple, who enjoyed a relationship of more than 50 years, bonded over their love of sport.
Cllr Mrs Muckle, who is also a councillor for Joyce Green ward, said: “We met at a youth club. He approached me, without any doubt at all because I had a boyfriend at the time.”
A true testament to the regard in which Cllr Muckle was held in the borough has been reflected in the number of tributes which flooded into his family home.
His son said: “The accolades, comments and the letters have been overwhelming and not just from members of his party but from across the community.”
Cllr Muckle is survived by his wife Ann, his son Tony, his daughter Carol and his four grandchildren.
His funeral will be held at St Edmunds Church Living Well, St Edmunds Road, Temple Hill, at 11am on Wednesday, September 3. There will be a service at Eltham Crematorium at 12.30pm with a gathering after at Dartford FC’s Princes Park Stadium.
Family flowers only but donations can be made to EllenorLions Hospices.