A former Lord Mayor of Chester has died following decades of public service.
Brian Bailey, 78, who once led the Conservative opposition on the now defunct Chester City Council, passed away at home on Sunday (June 5) evening after losing his fight against lung cancer even though he never smoked.
Mr Bailey had lived in Guilden Sutton with his wife Raewyn and is also survived by step children Susan and Andrew as well as eight grandchildren.
Born in West Bromwich, he was an avid supporter of West Bromwich Albion Football Club for whom he played as a young man.
A chartered chemical engineer by trade, Mr Bailey had worked as manager of a Monsanto chemical plant in St Louis, USA and later for Lever Brothers in Port Sunlight.
He went on to become a financial advisor for Barclays Bank in Chester before taking up his post as leader of the Conservative group on the city council to which he had been elected in 1974. He represented Vicars Cross ward and later Christleton ward.
In 2008-9, he served as the last Lord Mayor drawn from the city council prior to local government reorganisation.
Mr Bailey worked hard for the city as a trade ambassador and to promote the city as a destination. He also spent a great deal of time visiting local schools. One of his favourite moments during the mayoralty was hosting a number of children from Lache for afternoon tea.
He served the city on committee after committee. Between 1983 and 1991 he was chairman of the Gateway Theatre. And as deputy chairman of Muir Housing Association he took a particular interested in social housing and planning.
Between 1998 and 2005, he was Tory lead spokesman on the North West Regional Assembly where he offered the Conservatives’ input into all regional strategic planning, transportation, environmental issues.
He served on Cheshire West and Chester Council between 2008 and 2011 when he represented Gowy ward.
In addition, he was on the board of governors for Christleton High School for a number of years and also at Guilden Sutton Primary School until his death.
He was still active in the community and trying to work on the Guilden Sutton Neighbourhood Plan until the end.
Most recently he was on the parochial church council at St John the Baptist Church, Guilden Sutton, where he will be buried following a funeral service at St Peter's, Plemstall, at 1.15pm on Tuesday June 21.
Mr Bailey, an alderman, was ‘incredibly proud’ of his step children whose biological father David died in a plane accident when they were young children.
Step daughter Susan is a university lecturer teaching public relations and communications.
His step son Dr Andrew Lilico, who was ‘very much inspired’ by Mr Bailey, is a political economist and writes for The Telegraph and The Guardian as well as making frequent appearances on TV programmes such as BBC Newsnight.
Mr Bailey was above all devoted to his wife Raewyn, a concert pianist and teacher.
Daughter Susan Kinnear said: “He was her biggest fan, thought no-one could play like she could, and could never hear any error in anything she performed. He has supported her through every concert she has done since coming to the UK from New Zealand in 1974. And he adored all eight of his grandchildren, who he said kept him ‘energised’.”
She added: “My step father was a loyal, intelligent and devoted husband, father and grandfather. As far as his family were concerned he was the first to defend and the last to accuse. But most of all he was a fighter. He fought prostate cancer and won. He battled congenital heart disease and won.
“But this time, the odds against him were just too great. He leaves an enormous hole in our lives that it’s hard to imagine can ever be filled.”
Royce Parsons, of Chester Conservative Association, paid tribute to Brian Bailey in an email to members.
He said: "Brian's death is a great sadness. He served well the communities he represented and was an exceptional councillor for the City of Chester."
Speaking about the time Brian and Raewyn served as Lord and Lady Mayoress, he commented that they 'represented the city with dignity and style' and 'as ever Brian was more than willing to meet any call on his time'.
Instead of flowers, the family requests any donations are made to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Alternatively, Susan will be running the Race for Life in memory of Brian on July 17 and has set up a JustGiving Page for Cancer Research UK.