Tributes paid to former Hemel Hempstead Mayor Les Taber
Warm tributes have been paid to former Adeyfield councillor Les Taber, after he died last week from pneumonia.
Les, who was the first Labour Mayor for Dacorum in 1995-96, served as a local councillor for almost three decades from 1970 to 1999.
He was instrumental as part of the council’s works committee that created the magic roundabout in the 1970s, with his interest in politics stemming from his time representing workers at Lucas Aerospace on the unions.
Les died aged 97 in Watford General Hospital last Wednesday (April 5), leaving behind wife Una, 93, who he had been married to for more than 70 years.
Daughter Ann Snell said: “We are overwhelmed with all the messages that we have received since he passed away, all saying what a great guy my dad was.
“I just remember the laughter and all his stories. Even in the last few days at hospital he had banter to come back to you.”
Les met his wife Una in 1939, shortly before the Second World War, where they both lived in East Ham. He enlisted in the Army’s Medical Corp, and then married Una after the war ended in 1946 in Wanstead.
The couple finally moved to Adeyfield in 1951, having only become eligible to move after Les worked in the town for John Dickinson for six months. They had lived in the same house, in Newfield Lane, ever since.
Les eventually got a job at Lucas Aerospace, where he soon became a rep on the union. At the same time he joined the local Labour group alongside his wife. He was then elected to the Adeyfield ward in 1970.
Julia Coleman was the leader of Dacorum Borough Council from 1995 to 1999, and was a close friend of Les.
She said: “When he used to chair the meetings he had a very sharp wit.
“I think he was very well respected by all parties, and even when you didn’t see eye-to-eye with him you could have a great debate.
“We saw him in hospital on the Monday before he died and he was delighted to see us. That’s a memory I will treasure and I was proud to have been his friend.”
Les was also a prolific writer of letters to the Gazette, and was published as recently as March 22 in a debate about the future of Watford Hospital, where he sadly died just two weeks later.
In his final years both Les and Una attended the ‘Coffee Mates Club’ at Adeyfield Community Centre.
After losing part of his eyesight, Les turned from reading to writing poetry, most of which had a comic twist.
Speaking about her father, Ann added: “Everyone knew him in Adeyfield and people knew they could knock on the door if they had a problem.
“Dad always had time to help people as a councillor, and he stood up for the underdog and supported people in all walks of life.”
Les’ funeral takes place at St Barnabas Church at 2pm on Monday April 24.