Tributes to parish council chairman who died suddenly

Peter Nichols

Peter Nichols, centre, with his sons Daniel and Thomas, on Father's Day, 2020. - Credit: Submitted

Tributes have been paid to a former parish council chairman who died suddenly before Christmas.

Peter Nichols, who lived in Belton, died on November 28 last year. He was 77 years old.

He had been a member of Belton Parish Council for 22 years and has been described as a man of dedication with a wry sense of humour.

Peter Nichols

Peter Nichols, former chairman of Belton Parish Council, died suddenly in November last year. - Credit: Submitted

The son of Edie and Alf Nichols, he was born in October, 1943, in Hitchin in Hertfordshire, after his mother had been evacuated there from Norfolk during the Second World War.

After the war, his family returned home, living in Great Yarmouth and St Olaves before settling in Southtown, where Peter spent his formative years, going to Alderman and Leach School in Gorleston.

Like many children of his generation, he had already started work before finishing school, buttering rolls and collecting teacups at his family's tea-stall on the seafront.

He was a man who could turn his hand to most things, and later went on to get a glazier apprenticeship. He also worked as a steward offshore, at Bird's Eye and ran his own scaffolding company.

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After he married his first wife, Mary, in 1964, they moved to Cobholm, and then to Berry Close in Belton in 1972 where he spent the rest of his life.

The couple had four sons - Mark, Anthony, Julian and Justin.

Peter Nichols

Peter Nichols, former chairman of Belton Parish Council, on his wedding day in 2001. - Credit: Submitted

Mr Nichols married his second wife, Julie Barber, in 2001. They had two sons, Daniel and Thomas.

He joined the parish council 20 years ago, believing it would be a way of giving back to the community.

Mr Nichols enjoyed painting. The walls of his house in Belton were covered in his artwork.

Another passion was music. He loved singing and was a big fan of Elvis Presley. One of the pinnacles of his life was a visit to Graceland.

His son Daniel said: "He was the world's greatest dad. Whenever you fell he picked you up. He would do anything for anybody while ignoring his own problems."

Ms Barber, his second wife, said: "He was the most genuine, down to earth and kindhearted man you could ever wish to meet. Nobody ever had anything bad to say about him.

"He would never speak badly of anybody. He didn't spend his time hating people, that wasn't him."

Mick Graystone, the parish council's vice-chairman, said: "His wry sense of humour and dedication will be hard to live up to."

Mr Nichols is survived by his sons and by 16 grandchildren.