Wisbech council to hold annual minute’s silence to honour the famous ‘and not so famous’ who have died that year

Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela

Thursday, January 9, 2014
7:49 PM

Wisbech Town Council has decided that its last meeting of each year will include a minute’s silence “for all who passed away during the year”.

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Details of the gesture are revealed in newly published minutes of the town council which show the idea was proposed by Steve Tierney and seconded by Michele Tanfield.

An original motion – calling for a minute’s silence following the death of Nelson Mandela and proposed by independent councillor Virginia Bucknor and seconded by independent councillor Dave Patrick- was expanded to include a much longer list.

Acting town clerk Susanah Farmer reports that in future the town council “will start its final meeting in the annual calendar with a minute’s silence for all those who have passed away during that year”.

Mr Tierney gave further details of the debate on a recent blog noting that the council “does not normally do the ‘minute’s silence’ thing for international leaders and famous people. It normally reserves that for the passing of ex-councillors.

“I do not know why this is but I would guess that the traditions have grown up to prevent conflicts of opinion over different folk who have passed and also to reflect that we are a town council rather than an international body.”

He said he doubted anyone would have opposed the original motion which he thought “quite charming. I simply thought that since it’s Christmas with ‘good will to all men’ and so forth we could expand the motion to become something more.”

He said they had the opportunity to create a tradition in which, once a year, the town listed the well known people, the famous people, and the ‘important’ people, who had died then also recognised some who were perhaps not so famous. Others too, he felt, who were not so famous but was loved by the people who knew them, could also be respected.

“I thought it would be a nice way to de-politicise such things and just use our position as a town council to show some dignity and respect for all those people,” he wrote. “Yes it’s a little sentimental. But it’s Christmas and I was in a sentimental mood. It would appear, given that it was passed unanimously by all the councillors of all parties, that I was not the only one.”

He revealed he had prefaced his remarks to councillors with a suggested list “of some whom today’s minute silence could be dedicated to.”

His list:

Journalist David Frost

Film Director Michael Winner

Singers Bernadette Nolan, Patti Page and Lou Reed

Author Tom Clancy

Heavyweight Boxers Ken Norton & Tommy Morrison

Grammy Award Winning Musician JJ Cale

Helen Thomas, pioneer for Women In Journalism

War Correspondent Michael Hastings

Actors Paul Walker from The Fast And The Furious, Lewis Collins from The Professionals, Anna Wing from Eastenders, Cory Monteith from Glee, James Gandolfini from The Sopranos and Richard Briars from The Good Life

Writer Doris Lessing, who won the Nobel Prize for literature

Marcia Wallace, voice of the Simpsons

Prominent Feminist Mary Thom

Local councillors, colleagues and friends Mac Cotterell, Robert Scrimshaw and also Mick Speechley who has passed away very recently.

Mr Tierney added: “And most particularly to the famous leaders and politicians Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela. And to the army drummer, Lee Rigby, who was so brutally murdered by terrorists in full public view this year.”

The minutes do not record who will be responsible for compiling the list each year.

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