Tributes to ex-Rye mayor and councillor

Roger Breeds with his wife Amy at their Golding Wedding Anniversary lunch in March this year
Roger Breeds with his wife Amy at their Golding Wedding Anniversary lunch in March this year

A former mayor and ex-town councillor in Rye has died, aged 73.

Tributes have been paid this week to Roger Breeds, who passed away on May 19 after a short illness.

A civic service in his memory will be held in the town next Wednesday (June 10) at St Mary’s Church from 11.30am.

Mr Breeds’ wife, Amy, of New Winchelsea Road, said: “Roger loved to go out and talk to people. He was always reliable in helping people.

“Roger had a very keen sense of humour and was always cracking jokes.”

Mr Breeds attended Rye Grammar School and once trained as an apprentice carpenter and joiner.

He later went on to become a site agent, supervising many large building projects in the south east.

He first got involved in Rye matters when he was 16, joining the Rye Trades Council.

Mrs Breeds said: “From the age of 16, Roger became very interested in local matters and was chairman of Rye Youth Club for many years.

“He was also vice-chairman of Rye Young Conservatives in the early 1960s and that’s where I met him.”

Mr Breeds and his wife recently celebrated the Golden Wedding anniversary in March this year.

She added: “My mother was a councillor and she encouraged Roger to put his name forward to join Rye Town Council. He was a member from 1976 to 2007.”

Mr Breeds was also a Conservative councillor for Rother District Council from 1987 to 1995.

From 1984 to 1986, he was Mayor for Rye and Speaker for the Cinque Ports from 1985 to 1986.

Mrs Breeds said during his tenure her late husband invited the Russian ambassador to the UK to Rye for a visit, taking him and his wife to lunch before they had to return to London.

“The reason the ambassador was interested in Rye was because the then MP, Ken Warren, was chairman of the Russian Trades Council,” Mrs Breeds added.

She added that Mr Breeds, while Speaker for the Cinque Ports, was able to get the crew of the HMS Illustrious to visit the area.

In 1995 he took part in a television programme called The Tale of The Four Ports, promoting Rye.

Mr Breeds also sat on the Rye Sports Hall Steering Committee, helping to set up the facility in the town.

Mr Breeds’ main interest was in planning and he sat on Rye Town Council’s planning committee, as well as Rother’s, and was a member of Rye Conservation Society.

Outside of his civic duties, one of Mr Breeds’ hobbies was boating and renovating boats.

Town councillor John Breeds said: “I knew Roger since we were teenagers and he was quite knowledgeable about the fishing industry.

“His father was the postmaster for Rye Post Office and his grandfather, William Breeds, built the original Rye Hospital and grammar school. He also built the original Rye Cinema.

“Roger was quite a larger than life man and it was a shock to all of us to learn that he had died.”

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