Chester Long died peacefully at the Old Rectory on Monday the 15th of May aged 90.
Chester became involved in politics in Exeter because of his mother, who was very active in in the Labour Party. He ran numbers for the Party in the 1945 election when he was nine years old.
This interest in politics, along with his fervent desire for social justice, led him to a career in trade unionism and made him the passionate councillor he was. He was first elected in 1963, he then held several positions until he was elected the Labour leader in 1983, a position he held until 1999.
During that time, he helped transform Exeter, won overall control for the council, and helped to elect Ben Bradshaw as our MP in 1997. He retired from active politics in 2000 however, he mentored, supported, and encouraged many local politicians since then – including his daughter Emma. He also saw two of his brothers, Norman, and Spider, and one of his sister-in-laws, Mary, elected as councillors.
Chester was also a driving force for financial stability in the local party. Along with several other members, including Pete Hutchins, Dereen Duley and Joan Griffin he helped establish and run the Whipton and Pinhoe Labour Club. This club was incredibly successful raising funds for Exeter Labour Party. This capital was not only used to pay staff at Clifton Hill but also helped finance the National Party for many years. Exeter Labour party are still in debt to the sacrifices these people made.
Most of all he was a brilliant Husband, Father, Grandfather, and friend who will be sorely missed by all who knew him (mostly….!).
Funeral service to be held at St Peter’s Chapel, Exeter Crematorium on Friday 9th June at 1.30pm. Colourful clothing preferred and no flowers please.
Donations in Chester’s memory will be for Exeter Dementia Action Alliance and may be given at the service by retiring collection or online via the website http://exeterdementia.org.uk/.