An important pedestrian route in Haydon Wick named in honour of former Swindon mayor Rex Barnett has been unveiled by his wife Sandra.
Rex championed his North Swindon ward tirelessly. One of his last campaigns was to have a path resurfaced in Haydon Wick so that elderly residents in James Wilks House and residents with mobility problems could access local amenities more easily.
He went into battle after being told there was no funding available to complete the work but, after speaking to the Council’s North Locality team and fellow North Swindon councillors, he finally secured the necessary money to resurface the route which runs from Haydon Court to the centre of Haydon Wick.
Rex, who was mayor of Swindon between 2010 and 2011, went on the warpath despite fighting the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma which claimed his life earlier this year.
Sandra was joined by her two daughters Alison and Sara at the unveiling of the new sign on 28 October, as well as members of their families. They are pictured above and below by Richard Wintle of www.calypix.com
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland was also there as North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson had to attend the House of Commons, and Rex’s close friend and colleague Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, who was present.
Sandra said: “We all miss Rex so much but having this tribute to him and knowing how respected and loved he was gives us great comfort. It’s lovely the sign says he was Mayor of Swindon."
Cllr David Renard, Swindon Borough Council Leader, said: “I am so pleased that we have the opportunity to recognise Rex’s achievements on behalf of local residents.
“If he were with us, I think he would be quite chuffed and I can hear him saying to me ‘thanks chief’. This tribute will help ensure that we never forget one of life’s great characters.”
Dorothy Allen, a residents of James Wilkes House said: "The pathway was in a dreadful state. It took two years to get it resurfaced, but when Rex came to see us and we told him that it was not safe to use, we knew the job would get done. The council have now made the path smooth and also connected up the lighting column which has never worked."
Cllr Barnett was elected to the Haydon Wick ward in 2007 and served on numerous committees. During his time as mayor, Rex and Sandra raised a record £68,000 for local charities between 2010 and 2011.
Pictured right, Rex and Sandra Barnett in April 2012 receiving the Pride of Swindon award from Rex’s successor Cllr Ray Ballman