by timhill on 9 September, 2013
Malcolm Whiteman, a great friend of Martin’s and a fellow Wilstead Liberal Democrat, rang me on Sunday 8th September to give me the terrible news that Martin had died at 7.20am. He had been in hospital for several weeks after a stroke and on all reports was recovering. His sister had only rung me the previous Thursday and I had made arrangements to visit Martin the following Monday. I am only sorry that I had not taken the opportunity to visit him more.
Martin approached me when I was doing the Central Library Surgery in the summer of 1995, whilst I was a Brickhill Borough Councillor, as he wanted to join the Liberal Democrats. Martin joined as he was and remained a convinced pro-European and of a socially liberal mind. Martin was an extremely supportive helper in my inevitably doomed campaign for the Mid Beds constituency in the 1997 General Election that eventually led to the present MP being unleashed on the unsuspecting residents of Mid Bedfordshire.
Martin delivered a lot of leaflets across Mid Beds during my 1997 campaign, was my car driver across the constituency for 3 days a week and helped me with canvassing most days of every week of that long 7 week campaign.
It was then an honour for me to be part of the campaign team, including being his main canvassing organiser, that helped him be elected to Council as the Borough Councillor for Wilstead and Elstow in May 1998. He was a superb candidate in that he devoted every single waking hour to the campaign apart from a small amount of eating time and went on to be a very hard working and effective Councillor for his Ward. I am sure my Mum and Martin are now reminiscing about the 1998 campaign.
Martin was a fluent Italian speaker which helped greatly when speaking to the many Italian residents of his Ward and was partial to a pint of real ale or his beloved Italian red wine.
He was an active member of the Mid Beds Liberal Democrats Executive for many years, indeed until the last few months, and came along to as many North Beds Liberal Democrats social events as he could, especially those that didn’t clash with his cherished Leighton Buzzard Railway Preservation Society.
Martin was also very supportive of my campaigning in Elstow and Stewartby, including helping with leaflet delivery and doing several telling slots at elections, including 5 hours on the Police and Crime Commissioner election polling day in November 2012.
The Parish of Wilstead, the wider Borough and the Liberal Democrats are all poorer for the passing of Martin Parker. His sister and his wider family, his friends, including me and many other Liberal Democrats will miss him.
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