TRIBUTES have been paid to a much-loved councillor, mayor and family man.
Frank Pearce died on Wednesday, July 5, after an 18-month battle with liver cancer, aged 82.
During his lifetime he enjoyed a lengthy spell in local politics of more than 25 years, fulfilling councillor’s roles at Havant Borough Council and Hampshire County Council – becoming the mayor of Havant in the 1990s.
Sharing her memories ahead of her late husband’s funeral, which takes place tomorrow morning, Sheila Pearce, 71, from Hayling Island, said: ‘Frank was a lovely man. My life would have been a lot harder without him.
‘He was a fantastic father and stepfather and although we had both been married before we met, he always treated my children as if they were his own.
‘He really cared about the local community too, I think they called him ‘Mr Hayling’ at the council.’
Sheila said Frank had not initially set out to work in politics, but it was something he was ‘talked into’ by a friend and former politician.
‘Ted Gale used to visit us. Frank mentioned standing as a councillor and one day Ted said he should, so I suppose he was talked into it.
‘It was then he decided he didn’t just want to talk about it, but he wanted to do something about it too.
‘He successfully went up for election once and enjoyed it so much he kept standing again.
‘He would not have given it up for anything.’
However, Sheila says it was family that Frank put above anything else.
The pair married in 1987 and including their previous marriages, had four children between them – Cindy, Christopher, Joanne and Patrick.
Sheila said: ‘Frank loved being part of a big family. He had 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren and I have four brothers and sisters.
‘We quite often had 15 to 18 people at our home for Sunday dinner and he loved it. He was all for family and he was just so good with everybody.’
In 1987 Frank also opened his own business on Hayling Island – Francis Pearce Photography Studio.
After an unsuccessful course of chemotherapy led to his cancer returning, Frank decided to retiredfrom all of his commitments in May.
His funeral will take place today at 11.30am, at St Mary’s Church, Church Road, Hayling Island.