Family and friends are said to be ‘devastated’ after the unexpected death of County Councillor Frank Wilkinson last week.
Tributes have flooded in for the Ferring resident who passed away at 76 years old on Sunday, July 21, after a brief battle with cancer.
Frank Wilkinson represented the Storrington division for the West Sussex County Council for 16 years and was a former Cabinet Member.
Described as a ‘kind and considerate gentleman’ by his widow Ros Wilkinson, she told the County Times that he was diagnosed with Acute Myleloid Leukemia only three weeks ago.
“We’re all devastated. We were warned it would be a rocky road, yet we all thought he would overcome it, but it was advanced and aggressive.”
After 52 years of marriage, Mrs Wilkinson said the number of tributes and calls she had received made her ‘proud’ to have known him.
“He had a kind ear for anyone’s problems and gave them 100 per cent.”
On reflection, Mrs Wilkinson said she could have never expected losing Frank to the disease.
“Just four weeks ago we were walking along Ferring seafront, we felt we had all the time in the world, but all along I had been walking beside a ticking time bomb.”
Colleagues have offered their condolences to the family including council Leader Louise Goldsmith.
She said: “I was really saddened to hear that Frank had passed away. He was a really nice and honourable man who superbly represented the Storrington division. Everyone connected with the council will want to send their sympathies to his family.”
Frank served in a variety of roles, including Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Chairman of Chanctonbury County Local Committee and more recently as a Deputy to Cabinet Members on waste and waste minimisation.
Frank was also known for running Horsham’s landmark shop Candy Box and acting as president of Horsham Rotary.
Other tributes include Liberal Democrat group leader, Dr James Walsh, who said: “Frank Wilkinson was a true gentleman, always courteous and thoughtful. He had friends right across the political spectrum at County Hall.”
Storrington & Sullington Parish Council Chairman, Anna Worthington-Leese commented: “We are all very sad to hear the news about Frank. He worked tirelessly and selflessly to get things done.”
Mrs Wilkinson added that the staff at the Intensive Care Unit in Worthing Hospital where Frank spent his final days were ‘absolutely superb’.