"Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside..." A tribute to Councillor Bill Evans 1959-2022
Councillor Bill Evans sadly passed away on 11 March 2022 at his home, aged 62 years. He was a much-loved Dad to Hayley and Kim and a dearly loved brother.
Bill was elected to the Council in May 1995 for the then Leyland St John's Ward and was appointed to the first Cabinet in January 2000 with the portfolio of Community Development (later Cultural and Community Services) until 2005. After a gap of service between 2007 and 2011, Bill was elected again for the Earnshaw Bridge ward and had represented them since. In 2019 Bill was selected as Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and City Deal, later Planning, Business Support and Regeneration.
Bill had lived in Leyland is whole life and was greatly interested in the history of the area. His family recalls that he managed to find a bit of Leyland wherever he went, whether it was spotting a Leyland truck or bumping into someone he knew from home even when he was abroad...which wasn't difficult as everyone seemed to know him!
A big part of Bill's life was organ music. Particularly his love for the Wurlitzer organ at Blackpool Tower. He had a large collection of organ music which he listened to at every opportunity, "Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside" always brings back great memories for his family as it was one of his favourites.
He was a big supporter of animal charities and he donated regularly to various causes. He and his daughters spent many of days out when they were younger at zoos, sanctuaries or one of his favourites, Martin Mere, part of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
Bill's daughter Hayley said, "Everyone knew our dad as a private man, but his council work was his pride and joy. He was extremely passionate about his local community, which was obvious in the many, many years he spent serving his constituency and having been to many of council meetings ourselves as children, along with everyone else we could see the passion he had for improving his community.
"It has been so touching to read all of the lovely comments left by everyone, highlighting the impact he has had on the community. We can't thank everyone enough for the support we have received."
Bill was an integral part to the new administration which took control of the Council in 2019 and alongside sitting on Cabinet, Bill also sat on the Central Lancashire Strategic Joint Advisory Committee, the Leyland Town Deal Board and the Leyland and Farington Community Hub.
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council said, "Our dear friend Bill Evans served South Ribble with such loyalty and pride. Serving the residents of the borough was his life, and his dedication as a local Councillor is something I have always admired.
"Bill was an incredible character, warm and friendly and his wealth of knowledge and experience was second to none. His tragic loss will be felt by many.
"More than just a colleague, Bill was a great friend who will be dearly missed by all who knew him."
Councillor Karen Walton, Leader of the South Ribble Conservative Group said, "The members of the Conservative Group were shocked by the sad news of the unexpected death of Councillor Bill Evans.
"Bill was a friendly, hardworking, conscientious and well-respected Councillor for the Borough of South Ribble. He had worked with many members of the Conservative group on a number of committees and more recently, as a Cabinet member, to achieve the best for all the residents in the Borough.
"Bill will be greatly missed by us all and we would like to send our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time for us all."
Bill had also sat on planning committee and represented the Council on the Runshaw College Community Liaison Committee for a number of years.
Councillor David Howarth, Leader of the South Ribble Liberal Democrats Group said, "We are all shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of Bill Evans.
"Bill was someone I had known since we were both elected on the same day in 1995 and he has devoted years of service to South Ribble and the local community.
"He was always affable and approachable and went out of his way to help not only in his ward of Earnshaw Bridge, but across the borough. He had a particular interest in helping young people and was determined to deliver on the Town Centre and local plans.
"He will be missed by all who knew him."
18 March 2022