A fond farewell for ‘affable’ councillor

Alan Whitehead with his wife Val
Alan Whitehead with his wife Val

A ‘born raconteur’ who was a member of Dacorum Borough Council for 16 years has passed away aged 83.

Alan James Whitehead, who served the community from 1983 to 1999, died last Thursday, July 10, following a short illness.

The former merchant navy officer, who followed his brother Graham into the force before he was tragically lost overboard in 1966, was born in North London.

He lived in Tinkers Hole, Tinkers Lane near Wigginton from the 1960s until he moved southwards in 2006.

Alan had lost his wife Val on Christmas Day 11 years previously to breast cancer, and lived the rest of his days in North Devon.

He had been educated at Kings College, Taunton, in the same county during his youth.

He went on to become the founder and managing director of Engineering Test Services in the late 1950s, based in Watford. The firm pioneered the use of non-destructive survey techniques for ships, planes and industrial facilities around the world.

Alan – fondly known as ‘Gunga’ to his family – had no children, but his nephew Doug fondly remembers visiting him as a child.

He said: “A most affable and generous man, he was a born raconteur with a passion for life, his family and his friends.

“He will be greatly missed.”

Alan was also a member of Berkhamsted Golf Club.

He will be cremated at North Devon Crematorium in Barnstaple at 10.20am next Wednesday.