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Author Topic: Peter Blackburn, RIP  (Read 3943 times)
grahame
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« on: July 14, 2022, 08:12:13 am »

Peter Blackburn, Chair of the Melksham Transport User Group until just a few months ago, passed away peacefully yesterday afternoon (13th July)  with his family around him.

Update - Peter's funeral will take place on 19th August 2022 - please contact me if you want details - grahame

Peter was a remarkable man - a former Wiltshire County Councillor, a constituency agent and very active in the world of hockey. He move in national circles talked of working with Norman St John-Stevas and meeting John Major.  He was a member of the Transport Users Consultative Committee and with that background chaired the Melksham Railway Development Group from the mid 90s.  Under Peter's guiding chairmanship the group moved from "MRDG» (Melksham Railway Development Group - about)", spun off (with him on the board) the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership, and morphed into the Melksham Rail User Group based on the success from the development group days that actually brought us passengers to support.

As a chair, Peter was a joy to serve under - guiding, welcoming, sharing and managing meetings in a way that his influence was positive but unnoticed with much of the successes reflected onto others.  As a volunteer, he could be relied upon to turn out for events at obnoxious hours in inclement weather and help with setting up, talking with all and sundry, and generous in his provision as well as his heart. He was a regular, every year, providing refreshments on the Santa Special.

Always one for using his experience of the past for the informed benefit of the future, Peter was one of our team at Option 24/7 - representing informed user input and guidance on bus services, be it petitioning council and operators on service issues or look at the wider agenda including bus service improvement plans and enhanced partnerships.  One of the last times I saw Peter we were chatting about electric buses and town services and that work carries on though we will miss him at our regular meetings - one of the final things he carried on with.

Peter leave his wife Margaret of many, many years who has supported him and been with him all these years; sadly, her own health now rules out her having continued involvement if she wished to.  And he leaves three sons who he was very proud of for their careers, yet always seemed to have been popping by and keeping him in the picture.

I will miss Peter, but I will still be celebrating his memory and his work in the changes I have seen and we will continue to see that he was so much of a supporter and co-pilot of. And I will miss popping in to see him and Margaret to hear about the past, the present, and to chew over the future which all through he was such an influence over.

( http://melkshamnews.com/2017/08/16/melksham-rail-user-group-chair-nominated-for-volunteer-award/ )

Update 15th July - to add http://grahamellis.uk/blog560.html - personal comment and picture
« Last Edit: July 19, 2022, 08:57:35 am by grahame » Logged

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rogerw
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2022, 09:47:21 am »

I can only echo Grahame's sentiments. R.I.P Peter
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2022, 05:08:43 am »

From TransWilts CRP (Community Rail Partnership) to members, shared here with permission:

PETER BLACKBURN – 1933-2022
 
The TransWilts CIC (Community Interest Company ) was sorry to learn of the death of its long serving board member Peter Blackburn on the 13th July.
 
Peter, who was 88, had been a stalwart of public transport in Melksham for nearly 30 years.  He was chairman of the Melksham Railway Development Group, from which the TransWilts was born, and which itself has become the Melksham Transport Users Group to reflect its wider activities.

His wise counsel was much welcomed on the board of the TransWilts, from which he only stood down a couple of months ago.   However it was not only at meetings where Peter could be found.  He was always on hand to support public events where he would meet and speak to a whole range of people. 
 
Away from the railway, he had a lifetime in business, primarily shipping, and performed a number of roles.  In his time he was a regional chairman of the Federation of Small Business which under his leadership saw Swindon get its own branch in 2003.  He was also an election agent and was at home talking to both local and national politicians.  In what spare time he had he was a keen hockey follower and was President of the Wiltshire County Association.
 
He leaves a wife, Margaret, and three sons.
 
TransWilts chairman Paul Johnson paid tribute: "Peter was President of the TransWilts CIC since its formation in 2015 and his positive attitude was appreciated and respected by everyone he met. He was tremendously supportive of TransWilts providing a wise head on our Board with whom to discuss issues. HIs telephone calls became an essential part of my week for many years. He attended many community rail events and was always good company. He was a frequent visitor to the new Melksham Café together with his wife Margaret. Sadly his recent decline in health meant he could not continue to attend meetings and events - he will be sadly missed."
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2022, 08:50:24 am »

Peter's funeral will take place nearby on 19th August; details circulated to friends and colleagues - but Peter had so many friends and colleagues I may well have missed some - please let me know if you need details.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2023, 02:15:25 pm »

Peter's wife Margaret passed away on 13th December - five months to the day after Peter, and also in her 90th year.  She had been decimated by the awful Altzheimer's disease and in the last couple of years Peter had been her full time carer; at his funeral she was in a dreadful state and it had to be only a matter of time. But that is not the Margaret I wish to remember, nor the Margaret presented at her funeral, which took place this lunch time.    Over the last 48 hours, I have been in touch with numerous friends and colleagues who knew Margaret and Peter, and I was pleased to pass on your / their condolences and best wishes to their family, and to represent you.  On the political side, the couple had a strong and respected influence in Essex and Eastbourne, as well as later on here in Wiltshire; that political involvement as local agents representer today by James Gray, MP (Member of Parliament).

Margaret and Peter moved to Wiltshire in 1980, living in Gastard, then in a farm cottage near Purlpit, and finally in a sheltered bungalow just a few hundred yards from where I live in Melksham.  They were married for 64 year and were a really close couple - always supportive of one another, with Peter taking the public-facing elements of their life, but Margaret always there and never far behind.  For so many years, they travelled with us on the Santa Special train, serving minced pies and a gift of a glass of wine or alternative soft drink to the parents who had brought their children to see Santa ... but that's just an example.  Margaret was there with Peter on the 05:56 (that's in the morning!) train to Swindon in 2008, on the platform from before dawn to after dusk helping with surveys and at village fetes and fairs come rain or shine.

Margaret and Peter loved to chat, to encourage, to partner, and to help others realise their best.  And that chat and motivation was not limited to trains - indeed, of late when the Melksham Railway Development Group had succeeded in bringing back a service and having it work well, moving from trial to permanent, they moved on to the work we were doing in the community for an improved bus offering for passengers under Option 24/7.   We have lost two people who were fellow campaigners, colleagues and most of all loved and trusted friends.

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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2023, 03:33:43 pm »

A lovely tribute
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