I was saddened to learn of a death of Reg Copley, although I wouldn’t have known it it were not for a friend alerting me to the fact, who shared some of his thoughts and personal tribute on his blog. Reg was once my councilor (St. Lukes Ward). He lost his seat and moved on, after which there was little contact, although he did pop up now and again as he retained his political interest well into his advanced years. He was a staunch Labour supporter throughout his life where he followed his passion for helping the underdog. Outside local politics, he was an accomplished journalist.
I sometimes wonder if this new generation of political activists, especially Labourites, would even be aware of Reg. I feel they should. Like him they will become old and dead all too soon and they will have derived benefit from some of Reg’s dedicated laying foundations work and will do well to build on this before they too pass on the baton to the next generation. I remember engaging with Reg over local issues and his respectful, warm and helpful response, even though one issue, anti social behavior in my own locality, he didn’t manage to crack. It is worth remembering he served as Mayor of Southend and did a whole host of other things for the community that few will be aware of today but did make an impact. It was he as much as any that later inspired me to get involved by setting up my local residents association. I remember a conversation we had about the War, which like many of his generation affected him deeply. Later on I came across him while on the campaign trail although by then he was standing for seats he had little hope for winning.
I confess there is not much more I could say about Reg’s life other than it impacted my own, if nothing more than by showing the warrior spirit and keeping on against the odds, doing what he believed was best, and in particular to help those less fortunate than he. A lot more can be said as is often the case e.g. this account in Southend Echo. He will be missed by many, particularly by us oldies who recall fondly this formidable character. Rest in peace Reg.