Ten days short of his 90th birthday, Peter Robert Dee MBE peacefully passed away at home, surrounded by his close family.
The morning of February 1, 2017 was a fitting end for a man that lived life to the full, never with a dull moment or a pause to catch breath. Peter was a man on a mission to the very end to serve his community and support his family and friends.
Looking back on a long life, well lived and full of love and joy, it is remarkable to think that Peter lived to see so much. From the rise of Hitler, working in the Second World War, listening to the roaring rhetoric of Churchill, celebrating the coronation of our youngest female monarch, being inspired by the first moon landing, living in fear of nuclear war, voting for our first female Prime Minister, joyful at the fall of the Berlin Wall, heartened at the demise of racial tensions, inspired by the creation of the World Wide Web and lived on to see the Olympics come to London and change come to the world. He was there for the Great Depression of the 1930s, the crash on Wall Street of the noughties. He saw wars across our continent and battles rage in the Middle East. He witnessed the fall of the British Empire and the rise of the Arab Spring. Given all these great milestones and events it was always at home, in his community of Rye, that he was most absorbed.
Peter was a man that lived life to the fullest as an airman, caretaker, finance director, toy maker, scout leader, politician, alderman, cricket coach and MBE recipient.
When first elected, he was the youngest councillor on Rye Borough Council. He rose through the ranks to become the last Alderman of Rye and served for 21 years. He chaired many committees from the Rye Horticultural Society and local RAFA Branch, and was Treasurer of the Romney Marsh Shearers. For many years he brightened the flower beds along Udimore Road and won ‘Rye in Bloom’ for his work. He took the Rye 2nd XI Cricket Team to new heights, stood up for the little man in the Council Chamber, spoke with Churchill, and was introduced to Her Majesty the Queen on receipt of his MBE.
But given all this, his proudest roles in life were those of husband, father and grandfather. He was a man with a big heart and a character to match. For all the work he did, he ensured his family came first.
Peter was a man that sought the limelight, wanted to be centre of attention, was defiantly stubborn and a constant worrier. He was, however, a proud man, a loyal friend, a loving father and grandfather, a faithful husband – a man who looked to Queen and Country for inspiration and direction, not to better himself, but the lives of those around him.
This was a man that truly believed in the potential inside every person and that one voice could make a difference.
Peter used his voice to improve the lives not only of his family, but of his friends and neighbours, of his street and community, of his town and ultimately, as recognised by his MBE, he helped to improve the lives of many generations here in Rye.
Peter will be truly missed by his family and friends, but also by the community he loved. And now, with his characteristic smile looking down upon us, we can look back with a smile on a life well lived and full of joy.
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