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Rob Evans: Teacher who became voice for Chipping Norton on councils
5:00pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
A MAN described as “the voice for Chipping Norton” and who represented the town as mayor and on all three local councils has died.
He had been battling oesophagus and stomach cancer.
Mr Evans raised thousands of pounds for Chipping Norton Town Hall, organised litter picks and was a trustee of the town's children’s centre, the Ace Centre.
Two days before his death on Sunday he received a merit award for his contribution to the Labour Party, signed by party leader Ed Miliband.
Close friend Suzanne McRae, who had known Mr Evans for 30 years, said: “There wasn’t much you could dislike about Rob.
“He was selfless, generous and great company. He always wanted to squeeze the last drop out of the day and out of life itself.
“He never wanted to admit that time was up and he could do no more – even at the end.
“Cancer has again robbed us of someone who was willing to put others and the good of the community first. Many will miss him but for some of us that will be every day.”
Duncan Enright, the West Oxfordshire District Council Labour group leader, said: “He was a great man. He was obviously very bright and he was incredibly committed to people – he was constantly thinking about the people he represented. He came to understand Chipping Norton and West Oxfordshire better than most.
“He was the voice for Chipping Norton.”
Labour district councillor Eve Coles said: “I shall miss Rob a lot. He was really great with the Ace Centre.”
Mr Evans was brought up in Bala in Wales, the son of a baker. Welsh was his first language. He was sent to board at Oswestry School in Shropshire, where his love of music led him to form The Mozart Society and arrange visits to concerts.
After leaving school he read history at Edinburgh University before training as a teacher in Bristol.
Mr Evans became a teacher at Chipping Norton School in 1973 and about years four years later a history teacher at Banbury Technical College.
He took voluntary redundancy at the age of 53, but continued working as an exam marker and tutor for the Open University.
He was a governor of Chipping Norton School from 1996 to 2009. He was elected to Chipping Norton Town Council in 1983 and represented the town on the county council between 1997 and 2005 and on the district council from May last year.
He was mayor of Chipping Norton in 1995 and stepped down from the town council in 2011.
Mr Evans, who was made a free citizen of the town in last month, ran guided tours of Chipping Norton and loved all things Welsh, from rugby to poetry at the Eisteddfod.
Chipping Norton's deputy mayor, Chris Butterworth, said: “Rob was a person who greatly cared for Chippy in every aspect, from cleaning the streets to the bigger issues of the town.
“He was a founding member of the Friends of the Town Hall and in three years he managed to collect £18,000 for its upkeep.”
West Oxfordshire District Council paid tribute to Mr Evans, who was not married and had no children, at a meeting yesterday.
His funeral will be held next Thursday, at 11.30am at St Mary’s Church, in Church Street, Chipping Norton.
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