Tributes flood in after death of ‘much-loved’ Gosport councillor Austin Hicks
TRIBUTES have been paid to a veteran councillor who was loved by politicians across the political spectrum.
Gosport councillor Austin Hicks died last week at the age of 65, it has been confirmed.
The Brockhurst Liberal Democrat had been battling a long-term illness and missed a couple of the most recent council meetings due to ill health.
A lifelong Liberal Democrat who started his political career in Salisbury, Cllr Hicks, who previously worked at Harwin in Havant, stood as a councillor in Anglesey between 2006-2010, before being re-elected to the Brockhurst ward in 2014.
Following the sad news of Cllr Hicks’ death, tributes have poured in from all sides, with councillors describing him as a well-respected and hard-working man.
Leader of Gosport’s Liberal Democrats, Cllr Peter Chegwyn, said: ‘I’ve known Austin for 35 years and would say he was one of my best friends.
‘He was greatly respected by all who knew him and didn’t have a single enemy in the world.
‘Austin was loved and was very hard-working – it’s still a huge shock to us all. I’ve spoken to his wife Carol and his family, and everyone is absolutely devastated.’
The Liberal Democrat leader added that Cllr Hicks never complained about his illness, and continued turning up to council meetings despite his deteriorating health.
‘He was in politics for all the right reasons – he just wanted to help people and make Gosport a better place to live,’ Cllr Chegwyn added.
Leader of Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Mark Hook, says that Cllr Hicks was a ‘true gent’ with a huge passion for football.
Cllr Hook said: ‘He was always a very likeable councillor – I would regularly see him at Privett Park for Gosport Borough Football Club matches.
‘Austin was one of those people who always had a smile on their face.
‘He was a great bloke and I never heard anyone say a bad word about him; he will be sorely missed by all of us and our thoughts go out to his family and friends.’
Leader of the Gosport Labour Party, Cllr June Cully, says that Cllr Hicks was always ‘kind and considerate’ – especially when it came to his constituents.
‘He was always out and about in the villages and always had time to talk to people,’ she said.
‘It’s a big loss for the town because he cared so much about it – it’s a testament to who he was that everyone has spoken so highly of him.’
Cllr Hicks’ funeral will be on April 15 at Portchester Crematorium.