Tributes made to Leamington councillor Jonathan Nicholls at meeting

Usual business was put on hold as tributes were paid at this week’s full council meeting of Warwick District Council with party leaders and colleagues praising the ‘intellectual, gentle man’ who was killed in an accident

Councillor Jonathan Nicholls.
Councillor Jonathan Nicholls.

Usual business was put on hold as tributes were paid to Cllr Jonathan Nicholls at this week’s full council meeting of Warwick District Council with party leaders and colleagues praising the ‘intellectual, gentle man’ who was killed in an accident.

As a mark of respect, normal council business was kept to a minimum with updates from the leader and portfolio holders put on hold along with questions from councillors.

Labour’s Cllr Mini Mangat (Lab, Leamington Willes) led the tributes to the former group leader, mayor designate and Leamington Clarendon ward councillor.

She said: “He was such a special man. As our group leader he was always clear about putting local people first and often setting party politics aside to overcome divisions. He always saw the bigger picture.

“Right now as a group we are all devastated - each and every one of us was lucky to have benefited from Jonathan’s calm and nurturing nature and are the better for it.

“Although he came to politics later in life after a truly stellar career in higher education, his intellect and dedication meant he made a big difference in that short space of time. I’ve never met anyone with quite such a brain.

“He was a natural leader, not because he was forceful, in fact the very opposite. He was a gentle man with a warm, welcoming manner who commanded respect as he was so capable and because people knew he had a generous spirit so they sought his advice and counsel.

“I felt very fortunate to encounter Jonatahan as both a colleague and a friend - his mentorship meant the world to me.”

Council leader Cllr Andrew Day (Con, Bishop’s Tachbrook) said it was Cllr Nicholls’ intellect and challenging wit that he would most remember, adding: “It was his constructive and proactive way of trying to find a solution so that we could come together and achieve the various ambitions for our community.

“As chairman of our finance and audit committee he served with distinction. His questions were challenging but fair and I was always taken by the way he encouraged fellow members to participate in those committee meetings.”

There were further tributes paid from the leaders of the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Whitnash Residents’ Association along with a number of other councillors including Cllr Jan Matecki (Con, Budbrooke) who said he felt privileged to have known him and Cllr Richard Hales (Con, Kenilworth Abbey and Arden) who acknowledged Cllr Nicholls’ ability ‘to see a problem a million miles off’.

Following the tributes, councillors stood in silence in memory of Cllr Nicholls.