Cllr. Clifford Message 1981

Obituary – Evesham Journal 19th June 1997

Clifford Arthur Horton Message 1938-1997

Evesham town councillor, and its first Labour Mayor, Cliff Message died at Evesham Community Hospital last Sunday, aged 58, following a long illness.

Cliff was born in Priest Lane, Pershore, and attended the former Pershore Secondary Modern School.

He was apprenticed as an electrician to Abell and Smith in Port Street, Evesham, and then went into the Fleet Air Arm for nine years.

During that time he served as an electrical mechanic on the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes. He also served on HMS Ark Royal.

Retuning to Evesham, he went to the Richmond Sausage Company as a maintenance electrician was shop steward of the maintenance department.

In 1971 he was involved in the successful fight to the stop the closure. Two years later he moved to the newly opened Long Lartin prison as an electrician, where he remained until ill health forced his early retirement last year.

It was his involvement in the fight to save Richmonds that brought Cliff into local politics.

His first Evesham Borough Council election in East Ward resulted in a dead heat with major-elect ‘Dickie’ Davies. The by-election 3 months later, however, resulted in a convincing victory.

He continued to represent East Ward until 1991, when he moved to the town’s East Ward, which he served to his death.

Just six days before he died, Cliff was given a sundial as an appreciation of his years of service to the council.

He was elected to the new Wychavon District Council in 1973 where he remained until his resignation in 1979, holding the position of vice-chairman of the housing committee,

The highlight of his political career was his year as town mayor between 1981-82.

Supporting disabled people in the Vale, Cliff attended more than 600 functions during the year and raised nearly £6,000 for his charity which was distributed among 13 organisations.

The largest was £2,000 to buy a special hoist for Evesham swimming poll which, in the process, helped to establish the swimming for the disabled organisation, SPLASH.

A lifelong member of the Labour Party, in addition to being a councillor, he held many posts within the party including treasurer of the Evesham branch and vice-chairman of the constituency.

Although he will be remember for work on behalf the community through the town council, many will remember him as much for his involvement in local organisations.

Splash was very important to Cliff, and he was delighted to be its president, as was involvement with Arthritis and Rheumatism Council of which he was the local branch’s vice-president.

He as a governor of both the Vale of Evesham and Simon de Montfort schools for many years, was a representative on the Community Health Council and served at different time on the committees of the Arts Centre, local Scouts, Sea Cadets and Evesham’s Citizens Advice Bureau, being part of the founding of the last two.

The twinning association was also a great love. Numerous visits were made to Dreux, Melsungen and Evesham Township, which brought him a number of personal friends and, as he believed, helped on breaking down barriers. He was an honary life member of the association. Despite his illness, he was determined to join the 20th anniversary visit to Dreux just three weeks ago.

The Above information was kindly supplied by Clive Message, son of Cliff and Rosemary Message, 21/7/2004.