1 October 2016

A good man, gone too soon...........

It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Michael Fraser-Hopewell. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Michael was a resident of Somerton and, in late 2009, became one of the leading lights in the opposition to an industrial development at Badger's Cross, on the outskirts of the town. It was during that period that I first met Michael and he struck me as someone with great spirit and determination.

In October of 2009, Somerton Town Council staged a mass resignation and Michael, with the commitment that was his hallmark, stepped up and sought election to the new Town Council. The election was held in early 2010 with Michael being elected to the new Town Council and subsequently being elected Chair.

Michael led the Town Council with clarity and he was clearly determined to set a raised standard with regard to the Council's behaviour and conduct. He also sought to make the Council's activities as transparent as possible.

Sadly, his election as Chair made him a lightning conductor for the animus borne both by those who resigned and by their associates. Thus, the next 30 months of Michael's life was, in part, taken up attempting to deal with attacks of a personal and professional nature and those attacks finally led to his stepping down from the Council in May of 2012.

Michael bore this trial with characteristic stoicism and, whilst his spirit was intact, the experience certainly took its toll on his health.

I met with Michael on a number of occasions since May 2012 and it was clear that he had put the experience of the Council behind him. He had more time to concentrate on the house and the garden and his craft skills were self-evident.

Michael was a thoroughly decent man who had a mischievous smile and a great sense of humour. He was committed to his family and I cannot begin to consider the sense of loss that must be experienced by them. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends.