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JOHN WATTS: Tributes paid to Watford’s former Labour councillor 

 Published on: 27th January 2021   |   By: Amneet Kaur   |   Category: Uncategorized

Watford’s Woodside councillors have paid tribute to former Labour councillor John Watts, who sadly passed away on January 1.

John was described as a real people person, immensely popular and active all his life in his local community of Woodside and across Watford. 

He worked at Odhams printing press for twenty five years where he was also a union official. 

Among many of his achievements in life John served as a local councillor in Watford from 1976 until 1989 when he then became Mayor of Watford until 1990. 

He was part of the group that spearheaded the creation of the hugely successful Wenta business centres located in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and North London. 

John raised money with a charity pub crawl across Watford for the red play bus that children in Watford from the 1980’s will fondly remember.  

In Woodside John will forever be remembered as being both the saviour and originator of the Leavesden High road First World War memorial plaque, which he rescued from the reading room that was located on the current site of Leavesden Green junior school.  

John’s love of Watford took him and his wife Shelia to Watford’s then twin towns, Mainz in Germany, Nantes in France, Wilmington in the United States and even Novgorod in Russia at the height of the Cold War despite being warned against it by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. 

John was also well known amongst the Leavesden hospital community by both staff and patients alike. 

Occasionally a resident would find their way out of the hospital grounds and would be wandering the streets until John would find them and guide them home without incident or fuss. 

Woodside Watford borough councillor Richard Wenham said: “John was very much a cherished community stalwart, much loved in the area and who will be sorely missed.”

Woodside Herts County Councillor Tim Williams instead added: “John was an open and community focused gentleman who always brought a smile to those he met” and added “Woodside, and Watford has certainly lost a favourite son with John’s passing.”

John moved to Woodside in 1963 where he lived with his wife Shelia whom he had first met when she was thirteen years of age. 

He would cycle to see Shelia after school on his trade bike and they remained happily married until John’s passing.

John is survived by his wife Shelia, children Paul and Lynne and seven grandchildren. 

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