Milton Keynes Liberal Democrats

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Former Cllr Alan Pugh dies

by Douglas McCall on 21 February, 2017

Alan Pugh, 1940 – 2017.

The Liberal Democrats regret to announce the death of former long standing councillor and Mayor of Milton Keynes, Alan Pugh.

Alan Pugh

Alan graduated from the London School of Economics and worked in the food, building and construction industries in the UK and in Australia before setting up his own civil engineering company in 1979. He moved to MK in the early 1980s with his wife Irene and their two daughters, Hilary and Rebecca.

Alan and Irene were founding members of the SDP. In 1985, the days of the SDP-Liberal Alliance, he became the candidate for the newly created Buckinghamshire County Council seat of Linford North (his opposite number in Linford South was John Wheaver).

The Linford Letter “Election Extra” of that year included a front-page letter signed by Alan. This was a hallmark piece that foreshadowed how he would approach his work on the County Council (1985-1997) and then on the unitary MK Council until 2007. Over several paragraphs he “imagined” better facilities and opportunities and concluded:

“Are these day-dreams? They are certainly dreams that cannot be realised under the grinding, uncompassionate, uncaring heel of the Tory government and a party that appeals only to individual selfishness and organised greed … The time has come for a fresh start … This time, at last, you can vote for what you really believe in.”

His majority, with Labour in second place, was 303; in 1989 it was 237 over the Tories. In 1993, it shot up to 609, taking over 55% of the vote.  When the elections for the new unitary MK Council took place in 1996, Alan, with his fellow LibDem candidate Bob Benning, topped the poll again with 58% of the vote.  Further wins in 1999 and then in 2002, when the Liberal Democrats took control of the Council, saw more excellent majorities.

Alan was elected Mayor of Milton Keynes for 2002-2003, the third Liberal Democrat, after Bruce Hardwick and Pat Seymour, to receive that accolade. This was a role in which he gave much and took great pride.

Alan was not a highly political animal. His philosophy of life was firmly grounded in his Quaker faith. He measured his decisions with concern, empathy and respect for others – a good friend with a passion for fairness and justice.  It was these qualities that spoke to local residents who continued to elect him over those years of service.

He called his service as a councillor to an end in 2007. In 2013, he and Irene moved to Sheffield to be near one of their daughters and two of their four grandchildren.

Alan Pugh, born 24 March 1940, died on 22 January 2017.

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