Published Thursday, 08 October 2020
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Honorary Freeman Graham Ridge, M.A., PGCE, who passed away peacefully in the early hours of 7 October 2020, following a short ilness.
The flags outside Swanspool House, are flying at half-mast and will do so until sunset on the day of his funeral.
Graham was elected as a Labour councillor to the Wellingborough Urban District Council in 1962 and served that council until 1967. He was elected to the Borough Council of Wellingborough in 1973, and represented Queensway ward until May 2007– totalling 39 years service. He became the borough’s Mayor in 1979-80, with his late wife Sue as his Mayoress, and was Leader of the Council from 1997 to 2003. Graham was admitted as an Honorary Freeman of the Borough on 16 May 2013, the honour was given to him as a person who had given eminent service to the borough, to local government generally and to other organisations.
His career was spent in education, teaching modern languages in local schools, at Tresham College, and for the University of Maryland. He was Headteacher of Huxlow Comprehensive School for 21 years until his retirement. He served on the Northamptonshire Education committee for 10 years as a teacher representative and was governor of Ruskin Infants and Junior School and Hardwick Infants and Junior School for some 10 years.
In addition he gave outstanding service to many other local organisations and was a true champion for the voluntary sector. He was also chairman of the Board of Wellingborough Homes from 2006 to 2008.
He was a founder member of the Wellingborough Branch of the United Nations Association; the Wellingborough Twinning Association, of which he was very passionate, being a fluent French speaker, and chairman from 1977 to 1985; and was also chairman from 1997 to 2012 of the Friends of The Castle.
He also represented the council on many local government bodies at county and regional level and was an accredited peer with the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA).
Councillor Scarborough, Leader of the Labour group, said: “Graham Ridge was a remarkable man. He devoted his life as a teacher, councillor and supporter of many voluntary organisations to the people of Wellingborough and the surrounding area. He was the much loved and deeply respected leader of the Labour group on Wellingborough Council for many years and we will all miss him very deeply.”
Councillor Griffiths, Leader of the council, said: “Graham was a formidable and wise political opponent but a gentleman, proud of Wellingborough and always loyal to the council.”
Away from his political and civic life, Graham was very well respected and a well known figure in the town. He was very sociable and had time for everyone, loved spending time with his family of whom he was very proud, foreign travel, rugby and was partial to a glass of red wine. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Our sincere condolences are extended to his son, Neil, daughter, Belinda and grandchildren, Alex and Ellie.