Harlow MP Robert Halfon pays heartfelt tribute to Guy Mitchinson

Politics / Tue 13th Dec 2016 am31 11:06am


ON Friday evening of 9 December 2016 at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow lost a truly great man.

He was not great for being a celebrity, nor for being on television or in the newspapers (though many Harlow Star readers will know him as a regular contributor to this newspaper’s letter pages).

No, this man – Mr Guy Mitchinson – was very special because he loved his family, his town of Harlow, his political party, and his country. To those ends he dedicated much of his life.

For his Party, he spent many years as an active volunteer and even as Party agent during the 1990s.

For his town, he was both a former District Councillor and Essex Councillor and in recent years a local Magistrate as well.

For his country, despite having been very successful working in the City of London, he became a Border Official at Stansted Airport.

More than all these things, Guy Mitchinson was a real friend to many. I was one of those who were lucky enough to have his friendship.

An individual of utter integrity, I got to know Guy when I was first selected as Parliamentary Candidate for Harlow Constituency in 1999. We became close friends over the years: he was kind, generous, funny, utterly loyal, and not too afraid to cajole me when I was going wrong.

He was a brilliant adviser with a remarkable mind and intellect. Even after having a stroke, this wonderful human being came out at the last General Election, both to deliver leaflets and to stand with me when I was at the roadside campaigning.

A few weeks ago, when he first told me that he had significant tumours, I thought that because he was in early middle age and was healthy and fit, he would still be around for some time yet. But, this was not to be – and to my shock and sadness – he died from pneumonia last Friday evening. I had last seen him only on Wednesday at Princess Alexandra Hospital where we had inevitably ended up discussing politics.

A couple of weeks ago, we had dinner and he asked me to do one thing if he passed away. This was to do all I could to recommend and support an application for another Harlow resident to get an Honour from the Queen. This was typical of him – even in his last days – to put others first.

Guy embodied the idea of service to others above self.

Although he has now passed away, his deep values of community, public service, kindness, decency and integrity will endure forever.

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