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Derek Benfield

The Parish Council was saddened to hear of the passing of Derek yesterday, 26th October 2022.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time.

He was a stalwart of the Parish Council having served as a Councillor for over 30 years which shows an outstanding commitment to the residents of Covingham. This milestone was acknowledged in May 2021 when he was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the Parish of Covingham, which when told, rendered Derek speechless and emotional. Whilst this award was to recognise his service to the Parish of Covingham, we must not forget his achievements in the wider community. He was elected as a Borough Councillor in 1992, becoming the Deputy Leader of the Council in 1994, a position he held until 2002. The achievements during this period that he was most proud of was the creation of Stanton Park, Shaw Community Forest and Shop Mobility.  He also held the role of Vice Chairman of the Police Authority for 8 years. He was the Mayor in 2003-2004 when he undertook 684 engagements and was the runner up in The Mayor of England competition. Other organisations that benefitted from his experience are Age Concern where he was Chairman, a role he also held for Health watch and he was a committee member of the Bobby Van Trust and Dial-a-Ride.

Derek was always a good listener and would willingly share both his knowledge and experience and provide advice when asked. He always had time for the residents and his Parish Council colleagues. It didn’t matter what the problem was, after a few minutes with Derek he always provided sound counsel and you left with a smile on your face. 

He was a true gentleman and friend to many and will be sorely missed.  He will remain in our memories for years to come. It was an honour and privilege to have known him.

My thanks to Royston Cartwright for sharing this photo and giving me permission to use it.  It was taken in September 2020 at Coate Water.


Val Curtis

Chair, Covingham Parish Council

27th October 2022