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Former leader of Lichfield District Council says area has lost one of the last great local government statesmen

The area has lost one of the last great local government statesmen, according to the former leader of Lichfield District Council.

Arnold Ward CBE had previously lead Lichfield District Council as well as serving the Lichfield Rural East ward on Staffordshire County Council from 1964 to 2002.

Following his death, aged 89, a number of tributes were paid to the former stalwart of the local political scene.

And former Lichfield District Council leader Cllr David Smith, who succeeded Mr Ward as leader of the Conservative group at the local authority, said his loss was a great blow to local politics.

Councillor David Smith

Councillor David Smith

“Arnold was one of the last of the great local government statesmen,” he said. “It was a great honour for me to have served under him when he was leader of Lichfield District Council and to have succeeded him in that role.

“He had the exceptional wisdom to assess a complex situation and interpret it in a way we all understood – we could perhaps feel that local government’s gain was a loss to the legal profession.”

Mr Ward had lived in Whittington following his retirement from farming and rose to the top job at the district council after succeeding Sir David Lightbown.

But even after leaving the political scene, his influence was still felt.

Cllr Smith added: “After his retirement Arnold kept a very close watch on what we were doing as members and I always felt that I had his gentle supporting hand on my shoulder.

“He also served as a magistrate in Tamworth and had a reputation for being tough when required but also compassionate.”


Mr Ward’s funeral will be held at St Giles Church in Whittington at noon on February 28.

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