HUNDREDS were in attendance for Councillor Graham Payne’s funeral, held on March 23 in St James Church in Trowbridge.

Family, friends, colleagues and fellow councillors attended the service led by Canon Richard East.

The tireless campaigner was lovingly referred to as Mr Trowbridge and fond memories of his life were shared by Tony Pocock, chairman of Trowbridge White Ensign Association, of which Cllr Payne was a long standing member.

Standard Bearers also flew flags representing the Royal Navy Association for the councillor and family man, who died on March 23 at his home in Trowbridge. His coffin was draped in the White Ensign flag.

He was born on July 21, 1947 at the Royal United Hospital in Bath to parents Roy and Florence Payne.

He joined the Navy aged 15 and spent five years serving until an accident at sea affected his lungs and he was told he could not continue operating in the Navy. Graham started school at St Luke’s Primary in Bath followed by City of Bath School.

Speaking about Graham’s life, Mr Pocock told the congregation: “Graham left the Navy, went into civil engineering and later worked in the building trade. Graham attended Zion Baptist Church with his Mum. She encouraged him to listen to the preachers and study how they spoke and projected their voices. This helped in his role as a local councillor later in life.Graham married the love of his life Valerie in 1970 and they went on to have three children, Robert, Rebecca and Ellie and five grandchildren. He had a great interest in the local community at heart and always willing to help others. In his role as a councillor Graham campaigned on many issues in the town including the Longfield Community Centre, Mount Crushmore and most recently keeping Larkrise School open.”

Sharing a memory, Canon East told the congregation that Graham said that all he wanted to do was make Trowbridge a more peaceful place to live.

Canon East told the many people in attendance of the church that without Graham’s tireless work, Trowbridge would not be the place it is to live in today.

Other organisations he was involved in include Wiltshire Fire Service, the Town Trust and Lovemead Conservative Club.

Following his death, Wiltshire Council flew its flag at half mast and held a one minute silence during a full council meeting in memory of the councillor who represented Drynham Ward.

During the church service, MP for South West Wiltshire Andrew Murrison read the poem Home Is The Hunter by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Trowbridge Fire Service paid tribute to the community man as the funeral congregation travelled to West Wiltshire Crematorium for a private committal. Following the church service family and friends attended a wake at Trowbridge Rugby Club. Donations can be made to the British Lung Foundation.