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‘We all turned to him’: tributes to long-serving councillor with an easy smile

PUBLISHED: 09:49 19 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:49 19 September 2020

John Perry-Warnes, a long-serving North Norfolk District and Norfolk County Councillor, who has died aged 87. 

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

John Perry-Warnes, a long-serving North Norfolk District and Norfolk County Councillor, who has died aged 87. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2015

Tributes have been paid to John Perry-Warnes, a stalwart of north Norfolk politics and community life, after his death aged 87.

John Perry-Warnes as a young man. Picture: Supplied by the familyJohn Perry-Warnes as a young man. Picture: Supplied by the family

Jonny, 61, one of his two children along with Joanna, said his father was “very kind, thoughtful and hard working”.

Jonny said: “He had an easy smile and people found him very charming. He was very dedicated to his family and believed strongly in family values. He passionately believed in the value of public service.”

Mr Perry-Warnes was born in Saxthorpe, one of three children of Stanley, who ran a mineral water factory in Corpusty.

After his education at Bracondale school in Norwich he did two years of national service, serving in the Royal Norfolk Regiment in Hong Kong.

John Perry-Warnes was a long-serving district and county councillor in north Norfolk. Picture: Supplied by the familyJohn Perry-Warnes was a long-serving district and county councillor in north Norfolk. Picture: Supplied by the family

After his service Mr Perry-Warnes started work for an animal feed company as a field salesman, and continued in the same role after moving to Shavers, a Canadian poultry breeding firm with a large Norfolk presence.

Mr Perry-Warnes later bought a smallholding at Baconsthorpe - -with a second site at High Kelling - where he ran intensive livestock production and grew soft fruits including raspberries and strawberries.

Jonny said: “it was intensive, and he was a very hard working man.”

Mr Perry-Warnes was a member of his local parish council, and also a church warden at Baconsthorpe.

John Perry-Warnes, right, pictured in 2010 with Bryan Payne from Holt Town Council, gritting the pavements of the town. Picture: Colin FinchJohn Perry-Warnes, right, pictured in 2010 with Bryan Payne from Holt Town Council, gritting the pavements of the town. Picture: Colin Finch

In the mid 1980s he worked for about a year in property development.

Jonny said: “He was semi-retired at that point and dedicated his time onwards to public service.”

Mr Perry-Warnes was elected to Norfolk County Council, where he served for 10 years, and North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), where he served for 26 years.

Mr Perry-Warnes was chairman of NNDC for a year in 2012, and also served on several committees.

He also joined the Friends group of High Kelling Hospital, a role which he was very proud of. Jonny said another role which his father took great pride in was on the Norfolk Police Authority, and he was also a member of the board of governors at Gresham’s School in Holt.

Jonny said: “He always took great pleasure in helping other people.

“He was very strong conservative, with both a small ‘c’ and a large ‘C’.

“He got a lot of joy out of public service and that recognition was quite important to him.

“When he was very little, my grandmother told me he used to practice sermons - I think he wanted to be a vicar.

“That might say something about the strong drive he had in his character.”

He met his wife, Marion, through a mutual friend, and they were married in 1955. Marion died in 2016, after contracting early-stage Alzheimer’s and Mr Perry-Warnes cared for her for many years.

Jonny said: “A lot of people remember him for his dedication to her.”

They moved to Sheringham in the early 1990s, and Mr Perry-Warnes spent his final 10 years living in Holt.

North Norfolk MP and fellow Conservative Duncan Baker also paid tribute, saying: “John was a county councillor who took me under his wing when I first got involved in local politics.

“He was a total gentleman, respected by all and a fountain of knowledge and help. He will be desperately missed.

“His kindness and gentle nature made him not only an extremely effective councillor but one we all turned to.”


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