Kent’s ‘big fan’ had so much more to give
SEVERAL hundred people attended a memorial service for Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, the former leader of Kent County Council, at Canterbury Cathedral.
Shortly before his death in August aged 66, Lord BruceLockhart described himself as the ultimate fan of Kent.
Alongside his family were close friends, former colleagues and several leading politicians, including two former Conserva- tive leaders, Michael Howard and Iain Duncan Smith.
His lifelong friend Chris Gosling first met Lord Bruce-Lockhart when both were students at agricultural college in Circencester.
The pair travelled together round the world when they were in their 20s. It was on these travels that he met his wife, Tess.
“Sandy had a special gift of friendship,” he said. “He loved the Kent countryside.
“His kindness and wisdom were freely shared.”
It was a tragedy for the nation that his death meant that his contributions to both the House of Lords and his work as chairman of English Heritage, which he took on in 2007, were cut short.
“He was the best of friends, the nicest of men and in the proper meaning of the word, a true gentleman.”
Folkestone and Hythe MP and former party leader Michael Howard recalled how Lord BruceLockhart had entered public life campaigning over the route of the Channel Tunnel rail link in the 1980s.
While the rail link remained unpopular with many, the fact that it had given rise to one of the great political leaders of our time counts in its favour, he said.
He described Lord BruceLockhart’s approach to politics as one of principled pragmatism and it was this had led to one of the most creative political partnerships in recent years, when Kent County Council, which he led between 1997 and 2005, agreed to join a pioneering partnership with government that eventually saw the authority secure £21m for improving services.
“His devotion to the county was legendary. I never heard him speak ill of anybody, nor anybody speak ill of him. That is not a common feature of political life.”
But it was his family that was his bedrock, he said.
“His love and devotion to Tess and to his children and grandchildren came before anything else and many have described the light that came into his eyes when he spoke about them.
“He had so much more to give to the county of Kent and to his family.”
Chief Constable of Kent Mike Fuller and KCC leader Paul Carter; Iain Duncan Smith and Canterbury MP Julian Brazier, and Folkestone and Hythe MP Michael Howard pd1514885; pd1514526; pd1514891