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‘A good man – greatly missed’

Mike Preston

Mike had several aspects to his life and these are detailed in the pages shown below:-

Peter Osborne, 31st August 2011

I would like to make a few comments about Mike and his political life and contribution.

Mike was involved in his Parish Council, Charnwood Conservative Association, County Council and Charnwood Borough Council.

As a Politician as in life, he was affable and approachable. He wore his disappointments without rancour and his success without personal promotion. Stolid in judgement; he knew his own strengths and weaknesses. As many here will know, he would be able to manage to make a short address or explanation into a long one. You could never go away and complain of not having had everything well explained. His world was a spirit of enquiry together with a sharp mind, hidden behind a genuine user friendly man. His sense of humour never left him.

As Chairman of the Conservative Association, he was able to lead and keep together a disparate band of members. As Mike would remind me, You did say disparate not desperate didn’t you ?

At County Hall, he had fluctuations in his political life. He rose to being Deputy Leader under Harry Barber. He was successful as Chief Whip – a good listener, sometimes giving advice; Always reliable and discrete

The responsibility he enjoyed most was his Cabinet post for the Rural Communities. He understood how the myriad of groups worked together, helped enormously by his life rooted in the rural community.

Perhaps his greatest achievement was as Leader of Charnwood Borough Council. In that he was outstanding. His wide background was invaluable. He cared about the University and the new technologies as well as historic Loughborough, the Great Central Railway and the Old Magistrates Courts. That broad knowledge and the intellectual approach to problem solving were qualities not to be squandered. He did not seek Leadership but was asked to take it on. There are a number of ideas and projects which could be cited as his legacy. The most worthwhile was the confidence to achieve. He imbued a direction of purpose to Councillors and Officers at Charnwood at a time when the Borough needed it. His time as Leader revived and stimulated Charnwood with ideas for the present and he had a clear vision for the future. Success became infectious. Even in hospital, he asked about the Borough and would have liked to become an Alderman so he could still make a contribution.

In his private life as in his politics, quiet and self deprecating. I asked him about his engineering background. I knew his love of aircraft and that he had worked on Concorde. Which part - aeronautics or some other wizardry ? Well actually, the lavatory. Always the practical man !

What made him outstanding ? In his case, a surety of that which he was doing was, in the best interests of his Community.

If I have spoken kindly of the man I know as the Prof, it is because like our Community, I will miss his company. He was a good man.


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