Well-known Labour councillor dies

Roger Coales

A well-known Labour councillor has died. Roger Coales, who lived in Oldland Common, was a former leader of Kingswood Borough Council and a former Labour Group leader on South Gloucestershire Council.

He stepped down as a South Gloucestershire councillor in 2011 but was still a parish councillor for Bitton until the time of his sudden death last week.

His wife Ann, who died two years ago, had also served as a parish councillor.

In a statement the South Gloucestershire Labour Group said: “Roger had been a councillor for 28 years representing Woodstock ward in Kingswood.

“Roger was a quiet, unassuming, kind and well respected leader. He had been a school governor for both Courtney Primary and New Horizons Special Education School. Roger was also a longstanding Bitton parish councillor, a director/trustee for the Park Neighbourhood Nursery and the New Cheltenham Community Centre as well as being a trustee for the Samuel White Education Trust.

“When Roger stepped down from South Gloucestershire Council, he and his wife Ann tirelessly worked for the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline which raises funds to bring children to the UK each year for a month to enable them to receive life-extending ophthalmic and health support. Roger and Ann, alongside their Chernobyl local group, always made certain the children had a fun-packed holiday.

“Roger was a Labour man through and through and lived by the principles he held dearly to help and support anyone in need.”

The current Labour Group leader on South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Pat Rooney, said: “I was proud to have worked alongside Roger as a fellow Woodstock ward councillor. I have known Roger for over 35 years and I held him in the greatest respect for his quiet wisdom and considered judgement; however, most of all, I shall miss him as a good and supportive friend.”

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.