Tributes paid to 'true hero' of Grimsby Alec Bovill
TRIBUTES have been paid to a former mayor and "true hero" of Grimsby – whose vision helped shaped the town we see today.
Long-serving Labour councillor Alec Bovill was instrumental in the regeneration of the town centre and the creation of both the Grimsby Auditorium and Fishing Heritage Centre.
As reported, former trawlerman and railway signalman, Mr Bovill, passed away at Grimsby's Diana, Princess Of Wales Hospital on Monday, aged 79. He had suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for 20 years and died as a result of respiratory failure.
Today, family, friends and former colleagues have paid tribute to a "true ambassador" of Grimsby, who rubbed shoulders with celebrities such as Terry Wogan, Joanna Lumley and Dudley Moore in his quest to promote the town.
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Wife and fellow former councillor, Frances, 75 – who he married at St James' Church in 1955 – said: "I have so many fond memories of all the things he achieved over the years.
"He loved Grimsby and did whatever he could to make it a better place and to promote it.
"He was also a wonderful family man and a brilliant husband, who made a difference to the lives of so many people."
The couple, who lived in Macaulay Street, have two children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Son Colin Bovill, 44, of Cleethorpes, said: "It's hard to describe everything he was in words, but thankfully his actions speak for themselves.
"He taught me so much and all of the good parts of me are because of him.
"He was so supportive of us all and never let us down. I remember playing football for Welholme School and he never made the start of my matches because he was working on the railways, but I always knew he'd be there by the time the whistle sounded.
"I was extremely proud of him as a councillor, a man and a family man. He was a real ambassador for Grimsby and will be sorely, sorely missed."
Daughter Alex Scales, 49, of Grimsby, said: "He was larger than life in every sense and made an impact wherever he went. He always campaigned for what he believed was right and was passionate about equality.
"He never let anybody down and it's amazing how many people we meet who remember something he did to help them."
Grandson Ben Scales, 20, of Grimsby, said his grandfather was a "true hero."
"He was a Grimbarian through and through, said Ben.
"He loved fish and chips and he made me proud of where I am from and proud to be his grandson. He was the family member I could always brag about having because he was such a hero and I am proud of him."
Granddaughter Lisa Scales, 30, from Cleethorpes, said he thrived on being in the public eye and was happiest surrounded by people.
"He was one of those people who could walk into a room but not say a word and you would still know he was there," she added.
"He loved being in front of the cameras and he came alive whenever he was. He was also very funny and loved an audience."
Son-in-law Garry Scales, 54, from Grimsby, said: "He was fiercely proud of Grimsby and lived for the town.
"He was also a brilliant family man and sharp as a razor."
Born in Veal Street in 1932, Mr Bovill went to South Parade and Armstrong Street schools before leaving at 14 to work on a trawler. He also served in the Merchant Navy and later went to work as a signal engineer on the railways for more than 30 years. Mr Bovill also spent three decades serving on Industrial Tribunal panels. After being elected as a councillor for the Willows ward, he spent the remainder of his political career representing wards in the West Marsh. He became leader of Grimsby Borough Council in 1979 – a role he kept for 16 years.
He was Mayor in 1994-95 and helped raise £26,000 for his chosen charity, the RNLI.
His passion for regenerating the town also led him to receive one of the highest honours the Queen can give – an MBE.
Mr Bovill was a lifelong Grimsby Town fan and would attend every match – come rain or shine. His other interests included brass bands, being a trustee of Grimsby Minster and, in his earlier years, performing as a stand-up.
Keep reading your Grimsby Telegraph for details of Mr Bovill's funeral and information on where donations in his memory should be sent.