10:49PM, Sunday 28 June 2020
Photo by Maria Bradshaw
‘He was part of the fabric of Hurst’, said the chairman of Hurst Parish Council as he paid tribute to former parish councillor and ‘perfect gentleman’ Howard Larkin.
Howard moved to the village more than 40 years ago and spent more than 35 years on the parish council, before he sadly passed away at the age of 77.
Paying tribute to his mentor, Cllr Wayne Smith said: “I’ve know Howard for about 20 years.
“He’s everything that you would expect a village to be, he was just a nice chap, a perfect gentleman”.
Cllr Smith added that Howard was also a ‘good mentor’ for him when he first moved into the village more than 20 years ago.
“He almost took me under his wings and guided me and he was always there for me to go and talk to,” he said.
“We always enjoyed a pint after the parish council meeting, he was very much a what I call a real villager.
“He had a fantastic sense of humour. He was just a great guy to be around.
“He’s a symbol of all of these things that we’ve got which are good about Hurst. He was part of the fabric and he designed the fabric.
“He was always willing to speak to people, always had a cheery face and he he was doing a lot of good work to preserve the fabric and community of Hurst.”
Cllr Smith added that Howard, who was also a retired civil engineer, had been chairman of the planning committee twice in his time as parish councillor, was ‘instrumental’ in ‘guiding the parish council’s on planning applications, appeals and preserving the character of Hurst’.
A part of his work as parish councillor, Howard also looked after the drainage, the allotments and was ‘very connected’ with St Nicholas Primary School in Hurst, bringing the children over to the allotments to show them around.
“He was still involved in the neighbourhood plan we are working on, he produced the previous parish design statement for Hurst.”
As well as supporting the Hurst Horticultural Show, Howard also won prizes there for several years, which pictures showcasing him with his winning cup.
Cllr Smith added that Howard would also help with Christmas activities, summer activities around various shows and support his wife with the church fayres.
A funeral for Howard, who passed away at the end of April, was held on Friday, May 15 at Easthampstead Park Crematorium.
Villagers also stood outside their front doors and outside St Nicholas Church for to hear the church bells ring at one o’clock before observing a minute silence.
Discussing a physical tribute for Howard, Cllr Smith said: “We got a footpath in Hurst which is classed as Howard’s Way.
“He worked tirelessly to get a footpath along the Lodge Road so we named it after him many years ago and its called Howard’s Way.”
He added: “But we are working on a fitting tribute for Howard.”
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