Former Council Chairman and prominent Rayleigh volunteer Mike Handford dies after a lifetime of service

Mike Handford, former Chairman of Rochford District Council (1994/95) and a prominent part of the Rayleigh voluntary scene passed away recently aged 85. Mike was part of the Lib Dem led administration of the District Council that upgraded Rayleigh town centre after securing funds from Central Government and the County Council. During his time the Council also revamped Rayleigh’s Mill Hall (much in the news 25 years later). Mike also served on the newly created Rayleigh Town Council and was their 4th Chairman for the years 2000/2001. He worked with preceding Lib Dem Chairmen and Councillors to take over the King George V Playing Field and created the original skateboard park, it’s successor is still a super facility for young people in the town. Together with preceding Lib Dem Town Council Chairmen Jeanette Helson, Dave Barnes and Stan Jarvis, they arranged the installation of the popular Millennium Clock in the Town Centre.

Mike gave a lot of his time volunteering in his beloved Rayleigh Community. In particular, he served Rayleigh Age Concern, an organisation his late wife Beryl joined way back in the late 1960’s. After his retirement, Mike and Beryl teamed up with sister in law Joyce Giles, another Lib Dem Councillor, working tirelessly for the old folk of Rayleigh. Mike was also very proud to have been Chairman of the Friends of Holy Trinity, raising a lot of funds for the Rayleigh church.

Steve Tellis current Chairman of Rayleigh Lib Dems said “Mike was a big man with a big heart, always optimistic and ambitious for his local community. With his wife Beryl, they were a great family team. When their daughter Dawn tragically passed away at an early age, they were a rock for their grandchildren helping them develop into the good people they are today. It was an honour to have known Mike. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.”

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Contact Steve Tellis mobile 07799 345795