MORE than 150 people turned out at Redditch Crematorium yesterday to say their final farewells to former Bromsgrove District Council leader Roger Hollingworth.
Among them were past and present councillors from Bromsgrove, Redditch and the county council, members from the Conservative Association, representatives from Bromsgrove community organisations, former colleagues, family members and friends.
After the welcome and introduction, Jerusalem was the opening hymn and there were tributes from the family.
Mr Hollingworth was born in Middlesex in 1945 and then his family moved to his father’s hometown of Oldham.
After passing his 11+ exam, he got into Manchester Grammar School, took his A-levels and was offered a place at New College, Oxford.
But he changed his mind and, instead, went to the University of Birmingham where he studied a degree in politics, economics and statistics. It was there he met Jacqueline who he married a short time later.
The pair moved to Swansea where they had sons James and Mark and, after moving to Charlbury, near Oxford, in the mid-70s their daughter Sarah was born.
The family moved to Alvechurch in 1984 when the firm Mr Hollingworth was working for moved to Redditch. They then moved to nearby Rowney Green.
He was a councillor for Alvechurch from 2003 to 2015 and leader from 2005. He stood down at the last election to spend more time with his family.
A tribute written by his wife Jacqueline said he he adored his children and they adored him and he would always go the extra mile to help people.
She said the family had been really touched by the messages of love and support and Mr Hollingworth would have been ‘overwhelmed and a little embarrassed’ but would have thanked everyone for what they had to say.
The poem ‘So We’ll Go No More A Roving’ by Lord Byron, which had a special meaning to Mr Hollingworth and Jacqueline, was read out.
Son Mark said described his dad as a loving and fantastic father and proud husband.
He said he was gentle and kind but firm when he needed to be.
Mark added Mr Hollingworth loved fine food and the odd glass of whisky and doted on his grandchildren.
“He was my friend, my rock, my hero,” he said.
James said his dad was a wonderful man who was many things to many people and had had an enormous impact on his life.
He spoke of his dad’s love of maths and how he was a talented computer programmer, passing on his skills and helping him with his degree.
“He was someone I could turn to in my life who would always have time to help me.
“And when his grandchildren were born, he was a fantastic grandad as he was a dad.”
Sarah said she could not have wished for a better father, she was proud to have him as her dad and he had given her a lifetime of memories.
She spoke of times where they stayed up all night talking and how whenever she had a problem – no matter how big or small – she would always turn to him.
“He was my best friend, my hero, my dad.”
A tribute read out by MP Sajid Javid said Mr Hollingworth was an open and generous man who, although committed to his political party, did not conform to narrow politics.
He praised his leadership qualities, saying he never shied away from tough decisions if he knew had to be taken, even if they were going to be unpopular.
He added Mr Hollingworth was a true gentleman and a caring community champion whose work for Bromsgrove would continue to strengthen the district for many years to come.
After a reading of the fitting poem ‘The Measure of A Man’, a time for reflection, committal, farewell and closing words, the final song was played – Love Me Do by The Beatles which was one of the former leader’s favourites.
Mr Hollingworth, who died on January 30 at the age of 71, is survived by his mum, wife Jacqueline, children James, Mark and Sarah and two grandchildren.