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'He would help anyone who needed it' - Family pay tribute to popular town councillor

PUBLISHED: 10:54 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:47 06 February 2019

Philip High, second from right, with his wife Julie, son Tom, daughter-in-law Heather and their children Libby, Jacob and Owen. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE FAMILY

Philip High, second from right, with his wife Julie, son Tom, daughter-in-law Heather and their children Libby, Jacob and Owen. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE FAMILY

Archant

A kind, generous man, who did his utmost to help anybody he could.

Philip High, of Holt. Picture: Karen BethellPhilip High, of Holt. Picture: Karen Bethell

That is how Philip High, from Holt, will be remembered by his family and many friends after he died on Sunday, February 3, aged 74.

Philip’s wife, Julie, said he would be sorely missed, especially around Holt, which he served as a town and district councillor for many years.

She said: “He loved his town and was very proud of it.

“He was a kind man, he was generous and supportive of people whenever they needed help.”

Philip was one of the first students to attend Sheringham Secondary Modern School when it was built in 1957 and went on to become vice-chairman and later chairman of the school’s council.

Philip High, second from left, and others look at plans for a possible car park off Thornage Road in Holt in 2005. Photograph: Colin Finch.Philip High, second from left, and others look at plans for a possible car park off Thornage Road in Holt in 2005. Photograph: Colin Finch.

He worked as an electrician in his early career and then spent many years as a postman. He retired when he was 60, and he then spent 10 years driving buses and helping to load and unload them for Holt’s adult training centre.

His son, Tom, said: “The joke was that he went from delivering mail to delivering people.”

Julie said Philip’s many passions included cricket and the Norfolk County Cricket Club, John Wayne films and history, in particular the American Civil War.

She said he also loved chocolate, tea and doughnuts, but above all else he loved his family.

Philip and Julie also enjoyed travelling together, and made many trips to the US to visit Tom, who lives near Chicago with wife Heather and children Libby, Jacob and Owen.

Philip High, left, at the sod-cutting to start work to extension of the industrial estate on Hempstead Road, Holt in 2005. Also pictured are Andrew Mowbray from Bullen and Michael Baker.
 Photo: Angela Sharpe.Philip High, left, at the sod-cutting to start work to extension of the industrial estate on Hempstead Road, Holt in 2005. Also pictured are Andrew Mowbray from Bullen and Michael Baker. Photo: Angela Sharpe.

Philip became a town councillor in 1995, and stood down 22 years later. He first ran for the district council as an independent in 2003, but wasn’t elected, and on MP Norman Lamb’s advice he stood as a Liberal Democrat and got on the council in 2006, then serving until 2017.

Mike Hill, fellow town councillor and long-time friend, said: “He was responsible for helping a huge amount of people and it didn’t matter how complex or frivolous it was, he was always someone you could turn to. A huge friend to so many people, and even though he had a huge love for Holt he committed himself totally to the district as well.”

Bryan Payne, another council colleague and friend, added: “He was very good at helping people with problems, especially to do with local authority housing. He was very amicable, and a very popular person.”

Philip also supported local groups including Holt Area Caring and the town community centre, was president of elderly people’s social group Holt Friday Club and was a trustee of local beauty spot Holt Lowes.

He was also a major force behind Holt’s Owl Trail and the town’s Market Towns Initiative bid.

Michael Baker, Peter Moore and Philip High at the opening of the new toilets at Holt's Albert Street car park. Photograph: Archant.Michael Baker, Peter Moore and Philip High at the opening of the new toilets at Holt's Albert Street car park. Photograph: Archant.

A minute’s silence was held in his memory at the district council’s cabinet meeting on Monday.

Council leader Sarah Butikofer said: “He was much loved and respected. He was a thoroughly decent and independent person, and put community and family before politics.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Julie and the rest of his family at this difficult time.”

John Lee, the leader of the Conservative group on the council, also paid tribute. He said: “He was a man I got on really well with. I held him in the highest regard.”

Fellow Conservative councillor on NNDC, Duncan Baker said: “Phil was totally non-political and was a huge inspiration to me. He took me under his wing, and it was a huge shock to get the sad news that he had died.”

Cllr John Allison, former council clerk Di Dann, Philip High and conservationist Dr Tony Leech. 
Photo: Simon Finlay.Cllr John Allison, former council clerk Di Dann, Philip High and conservationist Dr Tony Leech. Photo: Simon Finlay.

Holt’s current mayor, Maggie Prior, said she would like to send condolences to Philip’s family on behalf of Holt Town Council.

Philip’s death came as a double blow for the family, as his sister, Ruth Woodhouse, died on January 28 aged 66, after battling pancreatic cancer. She lived in Briston.

Mr High is also survived by his brother Richard.

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