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Hundreds attend funeral of former Mayor
5:52pm Monday 22nd October 2012 in News
HUNDREDS of people turned out to pay their last respects to Stourbridge councillor Malcolm Knowles at a service of thanksgiving this afternoon (Monday October 22).
Friends, relatives and colleagues of the 79-year-old Wollaston and Stourbridge Town councillor packed out St Thomas’s Church where a poignant hour-long service was held following an earlier private cremation.
The popular Conservative councillor, who was Mayor of Dudley in 2004/5, passed away at home on October 9 after a short battle with cancer.
His lifelong friend and fellow councillor Liz Walker, a lay reader, conducted the service which was attended by colleagues from across the political parties including the Mayor of Dudley - councillor Melvyn Mottram.
Stourbridge MP Margot James was among those paying tribute to the long-serving cllr, who before winning the Wollaston and Stourbridge Town seat in 2002 represented Norton for 20 years from 1975 to 1995.
She described him as “a truly accomplished public servant and something of a rarity these days - a perfect gent to the last”.
While two of cllr Knowles’s grandchildren sang at the church - which the former engineering firm boss had campaigned avidly to help restore.
During his time as councillor he served on numerous committees and as the borough’s former cabinet member for regeneration he played his part in paving the way for new developments including Stourbridge’s multi-million Crown Centre revamp.
His many community interests also included being chairman of FARsite, set up to help preserve the site of the old Foster and Rastrick foundry in Wollaston - which just last Friday saw work finally begin on an £8.5m project to convert it into an ultra-modern medical centre.
In his spare time - cllr Knowles, of Swincross Road, Oldswinford, was also a keen classic car collector and in honour of his passion a number of vintage vehicles lined up in Market Street for the duration of the service.
He leaves a wife Shirleyanne, three daughters - Louise, Sarah and Charlotte - and eight grandchildren.
Cllr Knowles' death comes just eight months after that of fellow ward councillor Margaret Cowell, who also battled cancer, and just six months after serving Norton councillor Angus Adams died suddenly from a heart attack.