Death at 80 of former Mayor

Joseph Bulmer

Former Bideford Councillor and butcher helped establish town’s New Year’s Eve parade

FORMER Mayor of Bideford Hugh ‘Bill’ Wills has died at the age of 80.

A town councillor for eight years, he served as mayor in 1982, with his wife Pam as mayoress.

Mr Wills, who grew up in Bodmin, moved to Bideford in 1965 and was well known as a local butcher. He first worked in Cook’s Butchers in the High Street and later took over the business and ran it himself.

Prior to this he had been a regular soldier for nine years and in 1999 he formed the Bideford branch of the Royal Army Service Corps Association, of which he became chairman and later president.

He also served as president of Bideford Chamber of Commerce in the late 1970s.

During this period he was involved with local businesswoman Dorothy Rundle in setting up the first of what was to become a series of special New Year’s Eve celebrations in the town, with an Elizabethan theme parade and feast, torches and archers firing flaming arrows to set alight a ‘Spanish galleon’ on the river.

In his leisure time Mr Wills was a keen coarse angler and held office with Bideford Angling Club. He has asked that his collection of fishing tackle go to the angling club for use by a young angler.

Mr Wills’ funeral is being held at Bideford Parish Church at 2pm on June 16.