Councillor Mac Cotterell was “simply the best” says FDC leader Alan Melton

Councillor Mac Cotterell and his wife Madge when he received the MBE.

Councillor Mac Cotterell and his wife Madge when he received the MBE. - Credit: Archant

Flags were tonight flying at half mast at both Fenland Council offices in March and at Wisbech Port following the death of Councillor Mac Cotterell MBE, a former leader of Fenland District Council, aged 81.

Mac Cotterell reading the EMAP 1957 in-house magazine.

Mac Cotterell reading the EMAP 1957 in-house magazine. - Credit: Archant

Cllr Cotterell had served in local government for more than 50 years, and as a Conservative councillor still represented the Elm and Christchurch ward on the district council.

A picture that featured in an EMAP 1957 house magazine, of Cllr Cotterell having knives and hatchett

A picture that featured in an EMAP 1957 house magazine, of Cllr Cotterell having knives and hatchett's thrown at him. - Credit: Archant

Seven years ago Cllr Cotterell, who lived in Elm, was honoured by the Queen in her Birthday Honours list and was awarded the MBE for his services to the local community.

He worked tirelessly for the over 60s and was the originator of the now nationally known and award winning Golden Age Fairs.

Cllr Cotterell was also the district council’s cabinet advisor for special projects, and was a former chairman of Elm Parish Council.


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He was a member of the Wisbech and Fenland Museum management committee and served on seven drainage boards.

When Cllr Cotterell was awarded the MBE in 2006, a tribute on the Wisbech community archive described the event as “the proudest day of his life.”

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He said: “I am absolutely delighted that my efforts have been recognised. It has been a great honour to serve the people of Fenland.”

The tribute described how Cllr Cotterell had spent many years working for Fenland. He was leader of Fenland District Council from 1990 to 1995 and from 1998 to 2001 and played a major role in the revitalisation of the Port of Wisbech.

He was the former news editor of the Wisbech Advertiser , and later worked as a freelance journalist and photographer. He worked for EMAP and was a correspondent for many national newspapers and for BBC television and radio.

Cllr Cotterell was educated at Wisbech Grammar School and trained as an accountant before joining the RAF.

He was the youngest chairman of Wisbech Chamber of Commerce in the 1960s, and later became its president. He was also a member of the Wisbech Round Table and of the Rotary and Probus Clubs.

Cllr Cotterell was an active supporter of young people’s organisations, and a founder member of the Fen Tigers Motorcycle Club and the Wisbech Kart Club,

The 2006 community archive tribute said: “At the height of the 1960s while most young people were intent on dropping out, Mac stood for election for Wisbech Rural District Council to represent his local community of Elm. He has served that community ever since, as a rural district councillor, a member of Elm Parish Council, and as a district councillor.”

His other interests in Fenland included the Angles Theatre Council, Fenland and Marshland branch of the Alzheimer’s Society, Wisbech St Peter’s Church, the Royal Air Forces Association, and Fenland Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

He also served as a governor of several schools,including 23 years as a governor of Friday Bridge School.

Paying tribute to Cllr Cotterell, Fenland District Council leader Alan Melton said: “Fenland has lost one of its greatest ever champions, there is no question about that.

“As far as I am concerned, in local government he was the greatest friend, mentor and supporter anyone could ever wish for, he was like a big brother to me and I will miss him greatly.”

It was Cllr Cotterell’s wife of more than 50 years, Mrs Madge Cotterell, who broke the news to Cllr Melton.

“On a personal level I am devastated,” said Cllr Melton. “He was elected in 1979 and I was elected in 1981, and we became firm friends. We were together as leader and deputy leader, and vice versa, from 1989 to 2002.

“When I became leader in 2002 he was part of my cabinet and remained in my cabinet every since.

“He held high office, as committee chairman, leader and cabinet member for more than 30 years.

“He was an exemplary councillor, simply the best.”

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