Express & Star

Tributes paid to veteran Staffordshire councillor and prominent businessman

A veteran councillor and prominent businessman has died at the age of 82.

Derek Davis in Chadsmoor in 2016

Labour Party stalwart Derek Davis, who served for numerous years on Hednesford Town Council, Cannock Chase District Council and Staffordshire County Council died at Stafford Hospital on July 11 following illness.

He grew up in Hazel Slade and was first elected as a councillor at aged 27.

In tribute his family said he spent most of the last 50 years representing parts of Hednesford, Chadsmoor and Broomhill, and over the years served as Deputy Leader of Staffordshire County Council and as Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service chairman. It was his work on behalf of the fire service that resulted in him being awarded the OBE at Buckingham Palace in 2010.

Derek Davis at Buckingham Palace in 2010

His business West Midlands Estates was based in Market Street, Hednesford, and he was very much a fixture in the town centre until the start of the pandemic when he starting to work from home instead.

Among his successes was being involved in the early years of the Hednesford Traders group where he helped to organise events including town centre cycle racing. In recent years he was involved in numerous projects in Chadsmoor, including the foundation of a history society and the building of a war memorial to remember 203 fallen heroes from the area, many of whom had not previously appeared on any of the county’s memorials.

He met and married Muriel, until recently also a district councillor, in 1966. And after initially training as a mining engineer, he set up his own firm of estate agents and planning consultants called three years later.

Mrs Davis, also 82, said: "He was a councillor at 27 and spent the rest of his life serving the county.

"I would like to thank people for all the lovely messages and cards and the lovely things they have said about Derek. Many said he fought to get things done for them, particular from people in the Hednesford and Chadsmoor area.

Lord Austin, George Adamson and Derek Davis with Labour Party activists in Hednesford

"It's nice that tributes have come from all sides of the political strata. He will be sorely missed."

His only son, Mark, 52, said his father was a lifelong Wolves fan and was very proud to have followed his father and grandfather in this tradition. He was a good sportsman in his own right and in later life enjoyed playing golf at Brocton Hall Golf Club.

Mr Davis was one of very few people to have been declared an Honourary Alderman of both Staffordshire County Council and Cannock Chase District Council, and his death was noted at the most recent meeting of both authorities.

He is also survived by daughter-in-law Jane and grandchildren Joseph, 13, and Lyra, seven.

A private cremation will be followed by a service on August 9 at Chadsmoor Methodist Church, in Cannock Road, Chadsmoor, at 12.15pm.