A former Guildford mayor and Conservative councillor has died, Guildford Borough Council announced in a statement on Friday (May 20). The council said it is ‘with great sadness’ it confirms that councillor Richard Billington died in the early hours of May 20.
The council lowered its flag to half-mast at its headquarters in Millmead. Richard received life-saving surgery at St George’s hospital in Tooting, London following the discovery of a malignant brain tumour in 2020.
A new inoperable tumour was discovered in his brain earlier this year and received palliative care from the Royal Surrey and later on at the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice. Richard was first elected to the Council in 2011, representing the Tillingbourne ward.
Councillor Joss Bigmore, leader of the council, said: “Richard Billington served the people of Guildford well. He was mayor when the pandemic started, turning everything we knew and did upside down. He impressed many with how he handled the situation.
“When he was recovering from neurosurgery he still wanted to help and encouraged everyone to get the Covid vaccine. He was also one of the few mayors to serve two consecutive years. Rest in peace Richard, we will not forget you.”
Leader of the Conservative group, Councillor Paul Spooner, added: “Richard was respected and much loved. I had the honour of working with him when he served on the executive with me.
“He always gave his time and skills with joy and enthusiasm. Richard worked hard to make sure that people were seen, thanked and represented.
“Over the pandemic he often quoted the Queen, saying ‘we WILL meet again’. I hope that we will indeed meet again.”
Richard was mayor in 2019-20 and 2020-2021, serving again during the pandemic. He was on the executive from October 2012 to May 2018. He began as lead councillor for community safety and health.
In 2015 he became lead councillor for rural economy, countryside, parks, and leisure. Richard was on the planning committee from 2011 to 2019 and Licensing Committee from 2011 to 2014.
He was also chairman of the corporate governance and standards committee in 2018-19.
As a councillor, Richard served in other organisations:
- Surrey Hills AONB Partnership from 2011 to 2019
- Surrey County Playing Fields Association from 2015 to 2019
- Sport Guildford from 2016 to 2019
- Surrey Countryside and Rural Enterprise Forum from 2017 to 2019
- Surrey County Agricultural Society from 2017 to 2018
Details of the arrangements for Richard’s memorial will be announced shortly.
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