A former Corby councillor and driving school owner has died at the age of 78 after a short illness.
Stan Heggs, who lived in Stanion, was a well-known campaigner on issues in Corby and the surrounding villages and served for 18 years.
Mr Heggs was first elected to Corby Council in 1999, representing Stanion and Corby Old Village ward until 2015, and gained a seat on Northamptonshire County Council for the Corby Rural ward in May 2005, standing down in May 2017.
Julie Andrews, Mr Heggs’ daughter, paid tribute to her ‘happy to help’ father.
She said: “He did a hell of a lot for the people round here.
“We would always pick up the paper and laugh and say ‘which page is dad on?’ - he was always featured somewhere pointing at fly-tipping, wearing his hi-vis jacket by the side of the road or helping out a youth group.
“He loved to help out in the community as much as he’d help out the family.
“He just wanted to help people. He got elected because he saw that was the only way to make a difference to people’s lives.”
Mr Heggs was born in his grandmother’s house in Tunwell Lane, Corby Old Village, during an air raid in 1941.
He attended Rowlett School (now Corby Old Village Primary), and then Corby Boys School.
With a life-long love of driving, Mr Heggs worked in the motor trade selling vehicles at York Trailers and then a salesman at Stockwood Motors in Rockingham Road, Corby.
Fran Heggs, Mr Heggs’ widow, said: “I met Stan on a night out with friends and he made sure he bumped into me again.
“We started seeing each other and in 1986 he phoned me at work and said he’d booked the registry office for us to get married - he never actually proposed.
“He’ll be remembered for his terrific personality and for all the help he gave people when he was a councillor.”
In the mid 1980s he left the business and finished his working career as a driving instructor in and around Corby, retiring in 2015 - he also ran a skid pan at Desborough Airfield and was a member of the Institute of Advanced Drivers.
Julie said: “He taught so many people in the Corby area how to drive. He was really good at helping those people who couldn’t pass with other instructors.
“He loved driving and he loved helping people - always busy, busy, busy.
“He had lived with Type 1 diabetes since he was 15-years-old. In 2017, in the August after he retired from the council, he was diagnosed with vascular dementia.
“He had noticed he was having trouble with words and forgetting things - he passed away on Monday, August 19.”
Leader of Corby Council, Cllr Tom Beattie, said: “Stan’s death has come as a shock to his former colleagues at Corby Council.
“Stan was a hard working councillor for the borough for 16 years and represented his constituents very well.
“Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with Stan’s family and friends at this sad time.”
Corby and East Northants Conservative Association made Cllr Heggs an honorary vice-president of the association.
Leader of the Corby Conservative Party, Cllr Kevin Watt, said: “Stan was a valued member of the Conservative Party for both the borough and the county for a huge length of time.
“On behalf of the Corby Conservative Party, I’d like to express gratitude towards Stan’s hard work and commitment to his constituents.
“He will be greatly missed.”
On retiring from front-line council work Mr Heggs was given a letter from the then Prime Minister Theresa May in recognition of his contribution to the community.
Mrs May had said in her letter: “I want to thank you for your dedicated service to your community, and to the Conservative party.
“I very much appreciate it and I wish you all the best for your retirement from the council.”
Mrs May’s letter had also mentioned her memory of meeting Cllr Heggs during a visit to Corby several years ago.
Mr Heggs is survived by his second wife Fran, daughters Julie and Christine, granddaughters Katie, Emma, Emily and Danielle and step-sons John and Ian.
His funeral will take place on Friday, September 6 at 12 noon at St John the Baptist Church in Corby Old Village.
Family flowers only with donations to Diabetes UK and Dementia UK.
Corby Council will lower the union flag at half-mast on the day of Mr Heggs’ funeral as a sign of respect.