An Abbots Langley councillor of 24 years and respected member of the community has passed away at the age of 97.
Paul Goggins served as a county councillor for Abbots Langley for 24 years, from 1989 to 2013.
In addition, he served as a district councillor on Three Rivers Council, representing Langleybury, from 1986-1990 and 1991-2014.
He was also chairman of Hertfordshire’s SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education), and served on the Community Services Committee, the Audit Committee and Resources Scrutiny Committee.
He was elected as an Honorary Alderman after his retirement in 2013.
Despite his exceptional career, Paul will no doubt be best remembered for his remarkable character.
His son, Jeremy, told AbbotsNews: “He is probably the most honest person who’s ever been a born.
“A big statement, I know – but his honesty was astonishing, as was his determination to do absolutely everything that he was supposed to do, and nothing that he wasn’t supposed to do. He did everything to the letter of the law.
“He joined the civil service at the age of 17, and didn’t leave public service until his retirement at the age of 88, making him the oldest serving Herts county councillor.
“He spent 17 years at the lowest possible rank in the civil service and ended up being about five grades higher than that by the time he retired. It was astonishing career progression and I think his honesty is what got him there.”
Paul, alongside his wife, Eily, and Jeremy, moved to Hunton Bridge in 1967 from Sheffield, where he lived until 2006, when Paul and Eily relocated to a flat in Abbots Langley High Street.
Eily, 98, who would have been celebrating her 72th wedding anniversary with Paul this month, still lives there now.
During his time in the village, Paul truly made a mark on the Abbots community.
Jeremy said: “I’ve had many emails from people saying he was the best, most honest person you could meet.
“I remember being worried about him when he retired, because his work was his life – he loved it and had no other interests.
“But what I realised was that the community was his hobby, and he wanted to serve it.
“He did that through his church activities and serving on the alter and giving communion out to the sick.
“He would go to local parades and constantly speak to people. They appreciated who he was and what he stood for.”
Paul’s work with the church was so noteworthy that it led to him being awarded a papal knighthood of St. Gregory (KSG) by the Pope in 1996 – the highest accolade that a lay person can receive from the Catholic church.
Colette Wyatt-Lowe, chairman of Hertfordshire County Council, said in a tribute: “Paul was a dedicated and hardworking councillor and was admired and trusted by all who worked with him.
“The thoughts of everyone at Hertfordshire County Council are with Paul’s family at this time.”