Hundreds attend memorial to former Ashtead councillor
HUNDREDS gathered at St George's Church in Ashtead for the funeral of a much-loved councillor.
Many had to stand at the memorial of David Howell, who died of a heart attack at his holiday cottage in Scotland on May 8.
He died aged 63, just days after stepping down from his Ashtead Common seat and position as leader of the Ashtead Independents.
Speaking at Friday's service, Mr Howell's son Michael paid tribute to his dad, calling him a "great husband, father and grandfather".
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He added: "Kind, generous and modest; these are some of the words that many have used to describe dad in letters. He lived by the philosophy that no one should go to bed on an argument."
Mr Howell, who was married to wife Sue for more than 40 years, leaves his son and two daughters, Helen and Katherine, and five grandchildren.
Michael added: "We are all so proud of dad and I hope that I, as a father, can show the love and stability that he had for us."
Councillor Simon Ling, who replaced Mr Howell as leader of the Ashtead Independents, said: "He was a very hard-working councillor. He was first elected in 2004 before standing again in 2008 and winning with an increased majority.
"There are many representatives of the council here today to say their farewells. It is true that Ashtead has suffered a great loss, but so has the wider community of Mole Valley.
"The rest of us will carry on as we have to, but we need more like David."
Mr Howell was a trustee of the Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall and served as a governor of St Giles' School for nearly 20 years, retiring three years ago.
An engineer by profession, Mr Howell was a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and ran his own consultancy business, as well as leading UK trade missions abroad for the Government.
Christine Bailey, lay minister at St George's, said: "David's sudden death has shocked all of us who knew him.
"When he wasn't busy working, David enjoyed spending time in Scotland with his wife Sue. Perhaps it is fitting that David's last hours were spent doing just that."
To make a donation in David's memory, send a cheque payable to British Heart Foundation to L Hawkins & Sons, Highlands Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 8ND or visit www.lasting hope.bhf.org.uk/davidhowell