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Tributes to Ken Mollison, former Bishop's Stortford member of East Herts Council and key player in sports hall provision

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Tributes have been paid to a trailblazer for residents’ representation in Bishop’s Stortford.

Ken Mollison, 88, died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, on Sunday August 22. His funeral service took place on Wednesday (Sept 8) at St James the Great Church, Thorley.

With his late wife Jackie, who passed away in 2004, he was a key member of the Bishop’s Stortford Ratepayers Association, set up to keep party politics out of local government and promote people power.

Soon after local government reorganisation in 1974, Ken was elected to the newly-formed East Herts Council to represent the then Havers and Thorley ward in 1976. He was re-elected to represent Thorley in 1979 and 1983 before losing the seat to the Conservatives in 1987. He was again defeated by the Tories when he stood in Central ward in 1991.

While he worked hard at East Herts, Jackie was a town councillor, elected mayor in 1986.

Together, they helped to galvanise a generation of Bishop’s Stortford residents. East Herts alderman Keith Barnes, a former town and district councillor, attributes his own local government service to Ken.

Ken Mollison on a Rotary Club of Bishop's Stortford charity walk on the Isle of Wight
Ken Mollison on a Rotary Club of Bishop's Stortford charity walk on the Isle of Wight

Mr Barnes, mayor in 1988 and 2005, said: “It was Ken who introduced me to local politics in 1983 when I worked for Millars Machinery and he was personnel manager at that time.

“Ken was a Ratepayers district councillor, his wife Jackie was a town councillor and I happened to be chairman of the town’s tenants association.

“On behalf of the council tenants, I had been involved in fighting an 86% rent increase imposed by the new East Herts authority, and with local elections approaching, all the political parties asked me to stand for them. However, as the Ratepayers Association was non-party political, Ken persuaded me to stand for them.”

Ken was key to promoting sporting facilities, including provision for the disabled, in Bishop’s Stortford, serving as chairman of the Bishop’s Stortford Sportshall Trust at the Bishop’s Stortford High School until 2013.

Mr Barnes said: “Ken was looking for team members to represent Millars in the first Bishop’s Stortford 10-mile fun run. He sent for me to go to his office where he informed me I’d been entered to make up the team, explaining if I couldn’t run it I could walk round – at least it would show willing. That became the start for me of over 400 road races and 14 marathons, an interest I’d never have dreamed of doing but something I have always attributed to Ken’s ability to influence.

“He always had Bishop’s Stortford, his home town, at heart. He and his late wife were faithful servants and well loved by the many residents they helped over the years. Such people are hard to come by these days but they were shining examples and will be sadly missed. It was a privilege for me to have known them.”

Former Ratepayers Association member and current town and district councillor Diane Hollebon said: “Ken and Jackie were a devoted couple and fought long and hard on various projects. They cared passionately for Thorley ward and its residents.

“They were both involved with the set-up of the sports hall at the high school in London Road. It took a great deal of effort on their part, along with other councillors such as myself and the late David Smith, to secure this sports hall.

“Ken was Jackie’s support and mainstay. He worked tirelessly as a district councillor, often in the background, to enhance the quality of life for all residents of the town. When he spoke, you listened. He’ll be fondly remembered by those of us who knew him.”

Mr Mollison was a staunch member of the Rotary Club of Bishop’s Stortford and a long-time leader of Trailblazers, a group for retired men meeting at the Emmaus Centre at St James’ Church.

He and Jackie had two sons, James and Alastair. He also leaves daughters-in-law Teresa and Heather and grandchildren Connor, Alex and Chloe.

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