‘Gentleman’ former Mayor of Peterborough dies

David Thorpe at the annual Christmas wreath laying

David Thorpe at the annual Christmas wreath laying

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Former Mayor of Peterborough David Thorpe has passed away aged 86.

The Conservative councillor enjoyed a varied career working as a journalist and briefly team manager of the ice-hockey team Peterborough Phantoms {then called the Pirates) which he later return to save when the club was in danger of folding.

Mayors Ball Town Hall. Mayor David Thorpe inspects cadets from TS Gildenburg

Mayors Ball Town Hall. Mayor David Thorpe inspects cadets from TS Gildenburg

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara has paid tribute to David, saying: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of David Thorpe.

“He was a dear friend and colleague and I will miss him enormously.

“He was a lovely man, always seeing the good in people and always ready to help in whatever way he could.

“Over many years he helped so many people in so many ways. He really did make a difference.

MP Shailesh Vara and David Thorpe outside the toilets in Oundle Road

MP Shailesh Vara and David Thorpe outside the toilets in Oundle Road

“He added richness to our community by his public service and we are all the poorer for his passing.

“At this very sad time, my thoughts and prayers are with David and his family.”

Former city councillor Charles Swift said: “Everybody would say he’s a lovely gentleman. There’s no doubt about it, his character was beyond reproach.

“There are not many people like David. He was a very hard worker and did an awful lot over the years such as raising money for charity, particularly on the youth side.

“Him and his wife [Janet] were two of the stalwarts of Peterborough. You won’t find people like them again.

“Anyone you spoke to had the upmost respect for the gentleman. He liked and understood people and could converse with people. He was so genuine.

“Nothing was too much trouble for him.”

MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson tweeted: “Very sorry to learn of death of former Mayor David Thorpe. Great charity fundraiser & a big help to me when first candidate in Peterborough.”

David spent 12 years as a councillor, representing West ward from 1996 and then Orton with Hampton ward from 2004.

He spent time as a news reporter in London and Belfast before moving to Peterborough in 1955 to work as a sub editor, laying out pages on the newly launched Evening Telegraph (now Peterborough Telegraph).

His next job was on the Angling Times “writing about salmon and trout.”

He left to become a freelance journalist with business partner Rex Needle and used to interview people for the BBC.

He eventually started up his own PR agency, Alexander Associates.

One of his biggest achievements in Peterborough was with the city’s ice hockey team.

He took over as the Peterborough Pirates team manager in 1985 and returned to rescue the team financially when they were in danger of folding at the end of 1992.

It was David who led the fight to save the ice rink from closure even though he admitted in 2006: “It cost me more than I expected. It’s why I’m still working and not retired.”

David was deputy mayor for John Horrell in 2005 and donned the mayoral robes in sad circumstances after John passed away during his year as mayor.

David was also chairman of the Best Value committee, set up in 1997 to look at how the council could be run more efficiently.

One of the achievements of the committee was to reduce the council’s advertising budget from £1 million a year to £150,000.

David also stepped in to save the day alongside fellow councillor Michael Fletcher at engineering firm Westcombe Industries where 25 jobs were set to be axed.

The company provided employment opportunities for disabled people.

David also worked as secretary of the Peterborough Sports Aid Foundation.

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