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Tributes paid to former Colchester Liberal councillor Gerald Daldry

Gerald Daldry who has died, pictured with his late wife Grace. Picture: SIR BOB RUSSELL

Gerald Daldry who has died, pictured with his late wife Grace. Picture: SIR BOB RUSSELL

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A teacher and former local councillor who helped shape the political landscape of Colchester has died aged 84.

In February 1981 Gerald Daldry was agent for Liberal candidate Ivan Trusler in a borough council by-election which saw the shock defeat of the Conservatives in Lexden.

The result was followed by a stream of victories in subsequent years for the Liberal Party and Social Democratic Party in an Alliance, under Mr Daldry’s leadership having been elected in 1982 as councillor for Shrub End – a role he held until 1994.

During his time as a councillor he was chairman of the housing committee, from 1987 to 1991, and deputy chairman until 1994.

The SDP-Liberal Alliance took over running the authority in 1987, becoming the Liberal Democrats the following year.

Sir Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP from 1997 until 2015 and High Steward of Colchester, paid tribute to Mr Daldry.

He said: “Gerald was the man who, quietly but with determination, shrewdly helped bring about a major change in the political landscape of Colchester which not only brought a refreshing attitude at the Town Hall but which also paved the way for me being elected as Colchester’s MP.

“I owe so much to Gerald for what he helped achieve.”

At the time of his death Mr Daldry was President of Colchester Liberal Democrats.

Born at Lawford, Mr Daldry was educated at Manningtree St Michael’s Primary School and Colchester Royal Grammar School.

He did his National Service in the Royal Air Force from 1951-53, training as a wireless operator, and later attended Writtle Agricultural College before joining animal food merchants Paul’s of Ipswich where he advised poultry farmers.

In his late 30s he decided to become a teacher, and on qualification first worked at Home Farm Primary School in Colchester before moving to St John’s Green Primary School.

Mr Daldry was married to Grace, who taught at St George’s Infants School and who died in 2015, for nearly 60 years. They had three children - Graham, Ian and Gillian - and five grandchildren.

Mr Daldry was a keen rambler and regularly went on walks across north Essex, and he was a keen cricketer and badminton player.

The couple lived in Lexden since 1971, though last year Mr Daldry had a stroke and later moved to Copford Place home.

His funeral takes place today at Lexden Methodist Church, followed by burial at Mistley.

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