John commanded greatest respect

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I would like to share these thoughts following the premature death of borough and county councillor, John Hodges.

News of his passing came as a ‘hammer-blow’ shock to so many of us and first and foremost I send my condolences to those closest to him.

When John was first elected as co-councillor to myself, representing the Old Hastings electoral division, I admit to being sceptical and indeed wary of his ability to represent the Old Town, simply because to me he was an unknown quantity.

I needn’t have worried, however, since from day one, John Hodges got down to work and showed a true diligence ,together with a meticulous understanding of the electorate and their current issues of concern.

John always put Hastings first and having spent his life here, had a very special insight into its culture, history and present day ambition.

John was determined to preserve the very best of our heritage and would fight to the bitter end if necessary whenever he saw this under threat.

John went on to command the greatest respect throughout the Old Town and beyond.

He epitomised that rare breed of an elected representative who had cast iron integrity and genuine concern for our town’s wellbeing.

John almost always attended the monthly management meetings of the Hastings Old Town Residents Association and accepted all the gripes of members thereof, however mundane they might have appeared.

No matter whether the thing that bugged you was a pot-hole in the High Street or the blatant disregard for the natural beauty of Ecclesbourne Glen, John was ‘on the case’ and you knew he could be trusted to see that case through.

Many of us will miss his comprehensive monthly reports (available to all who were interested ), which kept us up-to-date with the council’s plans and decision making.

Many of us recall the impeccably researched and seemingly effortless oratory when John contributed to a council debate or indeed to any public forum. He had the authority and power to make people listen, learn, respect and understand.

Similarly, John’s talks to local groups and associations were both informative and showed a genuine love for all things Hastings.

We owe Cllr John Hodges a great debt of gratitude.

Hastings and the Old Town in particular has lost a diligent, dedicated and most knowledgeable ambassador.

His sudden departure is a huge loss and I doubt that we shall see his like within the foreseeable future.

Renewed condolences to John’s family and thank you John for a great job done. You will be sorely missed.

Richard Stevens

Former mayor

All Saints Street

Hastings

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