Tributes to former Gravesham council leader Mike Snelling
PUBLISHED: 10:01 22 October 2012
Tributes have poured in for Cllr Mike Snelling, former Gravesham council leader, who died on Friday.
The 66-year-old passed away in Darent Valley hospital after a brief illness.
Speaker at her Meopham home, his wife Heather said: “We are trying to come to terms with our loss and have been comforted by the many messages of condolence. He was most known to people as a politician but he was first and foremost a devoted father and doting grandfather.”
The couple met when they were children and members of the same church in Becontree near where Mike was born in Chadwell Heath, Essex. They were married for 43 years.
They have two daughters who both have two sons aged eight and three.
Mike and Heather had just returned from visiting daughter Abigail in Sydney where she and her family live.
Their other daughter, Kirsten, lives in Sussex.
As well as working as a banker for 37 years, his political career began when he became a parish councillor in Bradwell, Essex.
The couple then moved to Meopham 28 years ago and in 1987 he was elected as member for Meopham North on Gravesham Borough Council, and in 2011 elected to Kent County Council.
From 2007 to 2011 he was leader of Gravesham council where his achievements included the establishment of Cyclopark.
Friends, family and colleagues have paid tribute.
Gravesham Borough Council leader John Burden said: “This is awful news and my thoughts are with Mike’s family at this difficult time. Mike was a formidable political opponent as well as a faithful servant to the borough and all his constituents. He will be missed by the whole council.”
County council leader Paul Carter said: “As a County Member and as a ward member for Gravesend, leading the council and more recently the Gravesham Conservative Group, Mike made an enormous contribution to Kent and for the people of Gravesham.”
Gravesham MP Adam Holloway added: “From the beginning Mike never gave me a duff bit of advice, always backed me, told me I was wrong, and whispered to me the odd word of praise.
“Whatever party people follow, no one can ever argue that Mike ever did anything that he did not believe to be in the interests of the people living here.”
Meopham parish councillors and residents also reacted to the news.
Ken Kemsley said: “This must be a terrible shock for his family and our hearts go out to them. Mike will be a difficult act to follow and will be sorely missed by all in Meopham.”
Funeral arrangements have not been made as yet.
It is envisaged that there will be a family funeral with a Thanksgiving service at a later date.