Tribute paid to pair of council stalwarts

Roy Smith
Roy Smith

Two well-known and respected former Alnwick District councillors have been remembered, following their deaths aged 86 and 93.

Tributes were paid to Dick Elliott and Roy Smith, who passed away within days of each other following long and distinguished service to the north Northumberland community. Both were given the title of Honourary Alderman for their efforts.

Dick Elliott

Dick Elliott

Dick first represented Rothley on the Rothbury Rural District Council and its successor authourity, Alnwick District Council, serving on almost all its committies as well as acting as vice-chairman and then chairman of the council.

Born at Molesden in 1925, he was schooled at Mitford and then Kirkwhelpington school, singing in the church choir. It was the beginning of a career as a very professional amateur musician.

At the start of the Second World War, Dick volunteered for the Royal Navy, but found himself with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. After the war, he worked as a fireman on the Rothbury to Morpeth railway. An accomplished accordion player, he met his future wife Margaret after joining a band in which she played piano.

With the closure of the railway line, Dick worked with the Forestry Commission and later as a drainage contractor.

Roy had a similar career in local government, beginning on Rothbury Rural District Council and then Alnwick District Council, where he was vice-chairman and chairman. He was closely involved in the development of the Ember Gardens housing project in Warkworth, which was gifted and funded by the late Margaret Butler, with whom he shared a keen interest in breeding and racing of her horses which were reared on the limestone pastures of his farm in Whittingham.

Roy served with the Bedfordshire and Herts Territorial Army in 1941, active in Gibraltar, North Africa, Italy and Palestine. He married May in 1947 and returned to the county in 1953, to live on May’s family farm. Prominent in community life, he was chairman of governors at Whittingham School and served on the parish council, as well as acting as the council’s representative for Glendale Secondary Modern School in Wooler.

Roy also had a keen interest in the overseas exchange programme, particularly Voerde.