Former mayor who put town first dies aged 81

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The first person to be elected mayor of Berkhamsted within a year of becoming a councillor has died aged 81.

Ray Dyer was one of 13 members of the Berkhamsted First group of independents to stand for election to its town council in 1994 – ten got in.

His sister Doreen Lister, 83, said: “He loved Berkhamsted, his town, lived in it all his life and died in it after many happy years.”

His group of independents came to power amid controversy surrounding plans to build the town’s Waitrose store.

Doreen said: “I know Ray was dead against Berkhamsted becoming part of Hemel Hempstead. There was an age-old feud between the two towns.

“Berkhamsted was always considered the superior place, because of its public schools. It was snobbery, but that’s how it was.”

Ray collected thousands for The Hospice of St Francis in Northchurch by running a bric-a-brac stall of donated items at Berkhamsted Market.

The charity cared for his wife Betty before she died from cancer aged 60 in 1991. The pair had been married for almost 40 years.

Ray was a keen gardener who delivered meals on wheels to the elderly for many years.

He wrote the obituary for his own service of remembrance before he died.

It read: “Ray was a teaser, but unlike some, he could also take it back.

“His main fault – and some might not call it a fault – was to say exactly what he thought even when it would perhaps have been better to hold his tongue.

“But you always knew where you stood with him. Ray had a great sense of pride in Berkhamsted.”

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