Last week I was informed of the tragic news that Councillor Ian Wilder passed away on 28 July after a long illness. Ian was a long-term servant of the West End of London, the ward that he represented with such distinction and pride. First elected in 1994 Ian went on to faithfully serve the local community for over fifteen years and his death will resonate with countless people across the West End and further afield – a clear reflection of the huge impact of Ian’s contribution as a local councillor in the area.
Ian had an infallible passion for the West End and being a man of conviction and principle he was often outspoken in his views and actions. However, Ian’s words always came from the heart and he was quite simply an exemplary model of a locally focussed politician. Indeed, his lasting memorial will be the visible and undisputed improvements to the local streets and amenities of the West End which he worked so hard to enrich.
I first met Ian almost ten years ago whilst I was going through the process of being selected by the local Conservative Association for the 2001 parliamentary candidacy. Even though I had just met him I was instantly struck by Ian’s great energy, determination and encouragement. From that point forward, and throughout the years I knew him, Ian constantly highlighted that any elected individual could be a true representative of the whole community from the very wealthy to the less well off. On behalf of the often silent majority, Ian was not afraid to tackle tough issues such as anti-social behaviour and in doing so he substantially improved the quality of life for residents in the West End.
Ultimately, Ian was an example to all who aspire to make a positive difference in their local communities and he will be sorely missed by his family, friends and residents. Yet, it was absolute privilege to know Ian and it is important that we celebrate his life by remembering and highlighting his significant achievements and unique contribution to the area that he so loved.