We are sad to report the death of Mervyn Jeffery, loyal servant of the people of Shaftesbury and of Dorset. He was also a lifelong Liberal Democrat.
Mervyn served his community as a District Councillor for 20 years altogether; he was also a County Councillor for 8 years, from 2009-17, and was a former Mayor of Shaftesbury. Mervyn was a true representative of the people in his Ward and probably knew most of them by name.
He achieved much for his community but never put himself forward to claim credit for it, or to bask in the limelight, always insisting that it was all down to community effort (even though he was usually the one who had organised the effort in the first place). It can now be revealed that, at Mervyn’s insistence, the North Dorset Liberal Democrats (NDLD) once had to recycle an entire Shaftesbury leaflet print run because the text gave credit to Mervyn, rather than the local residents’ campaign group, for the installation of a new wooded play area on his patch. And, of course, he wouldn’t let us say anything about it at the time.
Although troubled by illness and pain for much of his life, he never let it get him down or put him off. Even on crutches, he still went door to door across his Ward to listen to people and help them. He was always a great Campaigner but he didn’t just come out at election time. He worked his socks off all the time and, when he could no longer meet his own high standards, he stood down.
His twin passions were for Planning and Green issues, particularly those regarding renewable energy. These weren’t just hobby horses. Mervyn attended seminars and conferences; he attended training sessions; he completed the Open University degree course. He knew what he was talking about (such a useful attribute in a councillor) and he was listened to – by those who also knew what he was talking about – with respect. If we recognise the phrase, “There are no Precedents in Planning” it is because we were there on at least one of the many occasions he uttered it. (And, by the way it’s true.)
Mervyn will be much missed by his colleagues and friends at the NDLD and the NDDC - but above all by the residents of his beloved Shaftesbury.