Former Rushden county councillor who fought for national bus pass dies

Harry and Megan on their Diamond wedding anniversary.
Harry and Megan on their Diamond wedding anniversary.

A former councillor who devoted four decades of his life to making sure Northamptonshire’s communities were improved and strengthened has died.

Warm tributes were paid from across all parts of the chamber at Northamptonshire County Council yesterday to Harry Graham, who passed away last month at the age of 92.

His work ethic, humour and gallant nature were remembered by colleagues who had worked alongside Harry during his time representing Rushden from 1973 to 2001.

A passionate campaigner for improving the county’s transport network, he was instrumental in planning and gaining funding for many of the county’s bypasses.

He was also involved in developing Brixworth country park and had a keen interest in education, serving as a governor at many schools including Alfred Street School in Rushden.

Rural transport was another big passion and he was involved in setting up the Rushden Rider. He saw his greatest achievement as campaigning for and succeeding in creating the national bus pass, which was brought in in 2008 and gave free travel to pensioners.

Labour councillor John McGhee said of the former county council chairman, who was awarded an MBE in 2004: “I have never met anyone who worked as hard for his community.”

Conservative Cllr Michael Tye said when he was first elected in 1997 experienced councillor Harry had shown him the ropes.

He said: “He was small in stature but with what he achieved he was a great man.”

Liberal Democrat Cllr Dennis Meredith said: “His legacy will never end.”

Born in Durham he moved to Rushden with his family in 1941 and played an active part in town life, even playing football for the town’s football team. After serving in the Navy on HMS Vega he met his wife Megan while working at Marriotts in 1947 and they were married in 1952. They have two children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. As well as a county councillor he had also been a member of the Rushden Urban District Council and East Northants Council.

His widow Megan was presented with a photograph by the county council’s serving chairman Steve Osborne.

She said: “We all miss him greatly. He spent much of his life here and you have given him a lovely tribute.”

Read about Harry’s well lived life in his own words here https://www.rushdenheritage.co.uk/people/grahamHarry-mainpage.html