ONE community is truly mourning the loss of an honourable man who in the eyes of many, did his utmost to fight for what he thought was best for Hayling Island.
Tony Higham, who worked with the Hayling Island Residents’ Association (HIRA) for 21 years, died aged 83 earlier this month, surrounded by his loved ones at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
Known by so many on Hayling Island and in Havant for his work, Tony, a HIRA committee member, was praised for his engineering knowledge and practical vision to investigate issues and improve facilities.
Tony, who lived on the island, was known as such to his friends, colleagues and the wider world, but to his family – always Anthony. He leaves behind wife Jeannette, son Jonathan and daughter Fiona.
HIRA said he remained a ‘vociferous and articulate critic of over-development, his reasoning always supported by common sense and engineering facts’.
Mr Higham wrote ‘instructive and constructive’ articles for the Hayling Islander for 15 years. He served as leader of the 3rd Hayling Scout Group for five years, and had been chair of steering committee Hayling’s Best, which worked on projects to regenerate the island.
Tributes have poured in from all those who knew the former physicist and chartered electrical engineer.
Chair of HIRA, Anne Skennerton, worked closely with Tony for three years. She said: ‘Hayling has lost a good friend.
‘Tony was a man who used his considerable abilities to fight for what he thought was best for the island.
‘He was honourable, a man of integrity, and he always struck me as a contented family man.
‘He was unafraid to give his views and had competence and knowledge.’
Anne said among many things, Tony worked on bus service issues and encouraged both Havant Borough Council and Hampshire County Council to appreciate Hayling’s road network limitations – particularly that of the A3023.
Wilf Forrow, from Cycle Hayling, said the group was saddened to hear of Tony’s death.
He said: ‘Tony was long-term supporter of Hayling and of Cycle Hayling.
‘His knowledge, quiet tenacity and engineering skills were at the heart of the crusade to protect Hayling from being overrun by commercial and house-building pressures.
‘Tony’s traffic modelling provided key inputs to Hayling Island’s infrastructure report, due to be published in December.
‘It’s a tragedy he did not live to see it published, and it is up to all of us to make sure his work lives on.’
Tony died on November 14. His funeral is at The Oaks Havant Crematorium at 10.45am, on Friday.
He used to work for former company Plessey, and later worked for Siemens.
Havant Borough Council leader, Cllr Michael Wilson, said: ‘I would like to pay tribute to Tony Higham who worked tirelessly for residents through HIRA in recent years, and in particular gave sound analysis of the transport constraints on Hayling which informed the work of the Structure Advisory Group.
‘My condolences to his family for their loss.’
Peter Drury, the man behind Hayling’s northern Billy Trail improvements, worked with Tony on Hayling’s Best.
He said: ‘We worked together in 2013 and had an ongoing relationship, I knew him very well.
‘He was very, very good at what he did and was always helpful and supportive.
‘I admire him greatly.’
Tony’s family would prefer any donations to be made to Pancreatic Cancer UK.