Marlborough’s town flag flew at half mast over the town hall this morning (Tuesday) in tribute to Derek Wolfe, town clerk since January, whose death yesterday has shocked the council into sudden mourning.
Edwina Fogg, Marlborough’s mayor, ordered the mark of respect for 58-year-old Mr Wolfe when last night’s town council meeting was abandoned after prayers for him and his family.
Mrs Fogg was so distraught that she could hardly speak. “It is a great shock and very upsetting,” she told 11 of the town’s 16 councillors who were present.
“This is a very tragic moment. I want us to come together as a sign of respect and as a sign of affection for Derek.”
She added later: “I am so shocked, really shaken. I had to force myself to speak as I was so bereft.”
Mr Wolfe died in the Great Western Hospital yesterday afternoon after calling for an ambulance when he woke at his Marlborough apartment feeling unwell with chest and stomach pains.
Today, the Mayor talked to Mr Wolfe’s widow, Lynette, and told Marlborough News Online: “She said Derek absolutely loved Marlborough and his home here. He was so professional that he would have hated the idea that he left any unfinished business on his desk.”
And the Mayor admitted: “We are all so shocked we can’t get our heads round it. There are no details yet as to the funeral. A post mortem is being held.”
Father John Blacker, parish priest at St Thomas More, Marlborough, who led the prayers, said: “We shall miss a good man and a good town clerk who served the people here in Marlborough so well.”
Councillor Stewart Dobson told Marlborough News Online:
“Although we had known Derek for a very brief time, I was very impressed with his knowledge of local government. He was a nice guy, a true gentleman in every sense of the word.”
“He was very fair. He gave his advice and even if sometimes it wasn’t what we wanted to hear, he was right, and her was fair and a very good town clerk.
“In a short space of time he had actually made a very large contribution to Marlborough. I shall certainly miss him.”
Councillor Richard Pitts, who is also a member of Transition Marlborough, revealed that Mr Wolfe had shown “a fantastic interest” in the movement, helped to form its structure as secretary of its control Hub and was a director of the town’s new monthly community market initiative.
“His death is a is a great loss,” said Councillor Pitts. “Even though he has been here a short time, he has had a massive influence.”
“He was a man who would use 60 words where five would do but he had his own style, and unique as it was it was certainly helped us tremendous to develop Transition Marlborough.”
And twice former mayor Councillor Nick Fogg said: “Everyone is feeling a deep sense of shock at Derek’s sudden death. He was a generous spirited man who brought a wealth of experience to the position of town clerk. It will be difficult to find a worthy successor to him.”