Tributes paid to former Mayor of Grimsby Peter Willing
"HE was not only my dad, he was a good friend."
The words of Marcus Van Willing as he pays tribute to his father and former Mayor of Grimsby, Peter Willing.
Peter, 89, died peacefully at his Chantry Lane home on Friday, March 1.
He was a Grimsby councillor for 20 years and Mayor in 1977.
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Not only a community champion, he was a dedicated father of three and husband to late wife Jeanne.
Marcus, 57, whose fiance, Louise Sutcliffe, was murdered in 1987, said he would not be here now if it weren't for his father's love.
He said: "I wouldn't have survived that year if it wasn't for his support. I will truly miss him and feel lost without him.
"He was not only my dad, he was a good friend.
"He was a very friendly man and a kind father. I am lucky to have had such loving parents. They sacrificed everything for their children and were proud of us all, as we are them."
Peter was born in Freeman Street, Grimsby, and served in the RAF as a "tail end Charlie" during the Second World War in Italy and Egypt.
After the war he returned to Grimsby and ran a small shop.
A socialite and thespian, he joined the Caxton Players, where he met wife of 48 years, Jeanne. Together they had three children, Karina, Marcus and David.
After a brief spell in Twickenham, they moved to Cleethorpes where he managed Blindells shoe shop.
The family later moved to Grimsby at Blindells' Freeman Street shop and volunteered as a special police constable.
He served on Grimsby Borough Council from 1968, becoming Mayor nine years later – the same year the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the borough.
He was also president of the British Legion Club from 1959 to 1966.
Marcus continued: "He was passionate about Grimsby. Dad was extremely proud to have the honour of Mayor bestowed on him. Everyone was extremely proud of him. It was an important year for the town.
"He was a very unassuming, mild mannered man who always had time for people – well most people – he didn't tolerate fools. He was caring and loving to us all."
Peter is also remembered by grandchildren Alfie and Harvey, Liz and Andrew and great-grandchildren Charlie, Will and Max.
His funeral will take place at Grimsby Minster on Friday at 11.30am. Special thanks was given to Julia Harrowing, a great family friend and Peter's carer to the end.