Sidney Jaques

GREAT-GRANDFATHER Sidney Jaques, who was the first chief executive of Kennet District Council, has died two days before his 91st birthday.

Mr Jaques, who lived in Devizes with his second wife Jill, died in Great Western Hospital, Swindon on October 31. A collection for the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research will be made when his funeral is held at St John's Church, Devizes, on November 20 at 1pm.

He was born in Islington, London in 1926 and during the Second World War he served in the Air Training Corps for three years before transferring to the army and rising to the rank of sergeant.

After he was demobbed it was found he had contracted tuberculosis and he spent the next two years in specialist hospitals. But he did not waste his time and learnt shorthand and typing which stood him in good stead for his future career in local government.

This began in 1950 when he joined Dorset County Council and he then worked his way up the ladder with a number of different authorities. He married Eileen and they had three children but he found time to gain the Diploma in Municipal Administration.

The family came to Wiltshire in 1965 when he was appointed deputy clerk to Highworth Rural District Council and he was promoted to clerk in 1967.

During local government reorganisation he was appointed chief executive of Kennet District Council and relished the challenge of establishing it as a working organisation that came into force on April 1, 1974.

Major projects that happened during his time in charge included the development of Hopton Industrial Estate, public car parking in Marlborough and the building of the council offices at Browfort, Devizes.

He retired in November 1986 and spent time with his family, horse riding, skiing, doing art and travelling. He became fluent in German and was an active member of Devizes Rotary Club and the town's twinning association.

His wife Eileen died in 1990 but he later met Jill while on a holiday in Cornwall and she moved to join him in Stert, near Devizes after their wedding. Mr Jaques also leaves his three children, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.