Kent’s ‘big fan’ had so much more to give

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile - by Paul Fran­cis pfran­cis@thek­m­group.co.uk

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

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