Civic funeral is planned for Mike Beech
January 28, 2009
The family of a councillor who has died aged 62 has paid tribute to “a very well respected” man.
Councillor Mike Beech, who was a member of Wokingham Town Council, died unexpectedly on Saturday.
He had been a councillor for six years and represented Evendons West ward.
Friend and former Wokingham town mayor Cllr Danny Miller expressed his sadness at the loss of a respected councillor.
Cllr Miller said: “He was a good councillor and part of the team.
“He knew when to put his opinions forward and when to let other people speak. The councillors will sadly miss him.”
Cllr Beech died of multiple organ failure after suddenly becoming unwell last week.
He was taken ill on Thursday, January 22, and slipped into a coma while in intensive care at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.
Cllr Beech ran a chauffeuring business and leaves a wife, Sandra, two children, David, 36, and Mark, 33, and grandchildren Bethany and Tora.
Son David said: “He was a brilliant granddad. He was never happier than when his grandchildren were bopping along to music.
“We grew up with lots of music and there was never a day when he didn’t play a guitar.”
Cllr Beech will have a civic funeral, which the town mayor Cllr Brian Willis will attend in full mayoral garb. The council macebearer will also be there.
Councillors who attend the funeral will form a guard of honour outside, and there will be a silence in his honour at the next council meeting.
Cllr Beech and his wife celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in September.
He played in local band SW2 and performed several times at the Rifle Volunteer pub in Reading Road, playing guitar and singing. In the 1960s, he also played in a band named Peter and the Wolves.
He had around 20 guitars and enjoyed playing with son Mark, who has returned from Canada for the funeral having moved there just days ago.
Cllr Beech took part in Wokingham Winter Carnival in November, when he marched in the parade.
David said: “Dad really enjoyed being a councillor and making a difference. He was a self-employed private hire driver and he worked 24 hours a day.
“He was very well known in the local community and in the Rifle Volunteer pub where he drank.
“People would go to him for assistance there because he was so approachable. He was very well respected.
“The family are devastated but he died peacefully and we are thankful for that and the years we had with him.”
The funeral will be held on Monday, February 2, at 9.45am at Easthampstead Park Crematorium and as a mark of respect, the flags at Wokingham Town Hall will be at half-mast.
Cllr Beech’s father died of Alzheimer’s disease and he was a fervent supporter of The Alzheimer’s Society. The family asks people give donations to the charity instead of flowers.