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Former councillor 'would do anything to help'

By Herald Express  |  Posted: August 30, 2012

HISTORIC MOMENT: Outgoing mayor Carol Milward welcomes new mayor of Torbay John Davis

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A CAMPAIGNING and caring former Torbay councillor has died at the age of 77.

Former mayor of Torbay John Davis went into politics after becoming an opponent of the poll tax in the 80s.

He was one of the founder members of the anti poll tax union in Torbay, along with Jean Midgley and Ann Williams, and later went on to join and represent the Liberal Democrats as a councillor in Torbay.

John, who was a shopkeeper in Ellacombe, took up the fight as he wanted to represent the views of his community and help the scores of people he met everyday through his business and personal life.

He ran Central and Carlton Stores and went onto be a ward councillor for Ellacombe before representing a ward in Brixham, where he was born.

Daughter Julie said: "He was very helpful to people. His corner shop was like a community centre and if there was a customer who had a problem or issue he could deal with he would do it. That was his nature."

Proud of his Torbay roots, Mr Davis was born in St Mary's Square and lived in Brixham until the 50s when he moved to Torquay.

Prior to his shopkeeping days Mr Davis was a painter and decorator and served in the Royal Marines.

He was one of a select number of National Servicemen who were sent to join the Kings Squad — a culmination of 32 weeks of Royal Marines Commando Training and a tradition which has been in place since King George V granted the honour in 1918.

He became the ceremonial mayor of Torbay when the authority changed from borough to unitary status, making him the last and first mayor of Torbay during an important part of its history.

Later in his life he was also made mayor of Cowtown by friends in Brixham.

He was also a keen supporter and champion of the Friends of Special Needs Children Charity in Torbay.

FOSNEC founder and former Lib-Dem council leader Ann Williams said: "You couldn't have met a more genuine, kind and thoughtful man.

"If it was the last pound coin he had in his pocket and you needed it he would give it to you. The number of people he helped above and beyond the duty of councillor was amazing and many people didn't know half of what he did for people.

"He was there to genuinely help people and genuinely cared. He was a star.

"For the people in the community he would do anything to help. He was the type of ward councillor we are sadly lacking today."

He leaves his wife Viv, four children Julie, Andrew, Glen and Kirsty, grandchildren Michelle, James, Chloe, Jack and Jude and great grandchildren Erin and Ella.

His funeral will take place at Torquay Crematorium today at 2.45pm.

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