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Mr Tom Bickley, long-standing councillor and former Mayor of Newark, died peacefully on Saturday

The family of a long-standing councillor and former Mayor of Newark, who died on Saturday, have said he enjoyed being able to make a difference.

Mr Tom Bickley died peacefully at his home in Nursery Court, Newark. He was 88.

Mr Bickley was born in Edwinstowe, the son of a miner, and lived there for 34 years. He did his National Service in the RAF, and afterwards opened a hairdressing business in Bilsthorpe.

Tom and Ondra Bickley (26795809)
Tom and Ondra Bickley (26795809)

He and his wife, Mrs Ondra Bickley, were married in 1964, and by 1970 had two children.

They moved to Newark, and ran an off-licence on Sleaford Road for 24 years.

In this time Mr Bickley got involved in youth football, and ran a team for five years. He was secretary to Newark Youth Football League for six years.

In 1980, he was asked to stand for the first Newark Town Council.

He was elected and served total of 35 years. He was also a Newark and Sherwood District councillor for 15 years, including a year as chairman, and was a magistrate for 20 years.

He had 16 years of service with Newark Age Concern, including 14 as chairman, was a trustee of the Municipal General Charity for 30 years, a governor of Newark Technical College, president of Newark Food and Drink Association, and involved in starting Newark Twinning Association.

Mrs Bickley said her husband never planned to become a councillor, but after being elected, he didn’t look back.

“He really enjoyed it. He liked to be able to make a difference,” she said.

“He was so busy, the children often used to ask how dad did it, but he just liked helping people.”

Mrs Bickley said she and her husband particularly en joyed their second term as Mayor and Mayoress.

“We had more time, and we had always done things together, so it was a natural thing. It was a lovely way to end his time as a councillor,” she said.

She said they made many friends through their part in town life.

Mr Bickley helped set up Beaumond House Community Hspice, and Mrs Bickley said the hospice had been a big help in his final months.

Mr Bickley leaves his wife, son and daughter-in law Mark and Frances Bickley, daughter Helen Smith, and grandchildren Oliver, Jude, Zoë and Lucy.

A funeral service for Mr Bickley has yet to be arranged.

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