West Lindsey District Council colleagues have paid tribute to Councillor Chris Underwood-Frost who lost his battle with cancer last week.
Coun Underwood-Frost, 52, passed away at home on Wednesday 16th October.
Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Coun Jeff Summers said: “This very brave man not only served the people in his ward as district councillor and county councillor but served his country in our military services.”
“I met Chris in 2002, a strong personality with conviction in what he believed.”
“He worked strenuously to provide for everyone, working almost to the end by chairing so professionally the planning committee.”
“I was so pleased we were able to present him with his service to West Lindsey award before he said goodbye.”
“A very brave man, I can only offer my deepest sympathy to Max, his son, and Sally, his mother. He died with love around him.”
Chairman of the council, Coun Irmgard Parrott said: “Chris will be sadly missed as a friend and as a councillor. He did a great job as the chairman of the planning committee, making a huge difference. We will all miss him.”
In his honour, a flag is flying at half mast at the Guildhall in Gainsborough, which is the headquarters for the district council.
Coun David Cotton said now he is at peace ‘we can truly honour his memory’.
He said: “For all the time I have known Chris, some fourteen years, he has fought and battled against cancer. Who among us would not have given up and succumbed a long while ago, but his testament is that wasn’t Chris’s style but battling on and serving others while doing it was.”
Coun Underwood-Frost represented the Scotter ward since May 1999. He was also the chairman of the planning committee, since 2009 which he helped transform.
He carried out the prestigious office as chairman of the council during the 2004/05 civic year.
Coun Underwood-Frost also served on Lincolnshire County Council.
Coun Diana Rodgers said: “For years he struggled with cancer, and suffered from the effects of his illness and the affects of the treatment; but he came back time and time again: not only to fulfil his role as an elected representative; but to be seen to be fulfilling his role as a public representative.”
“So compelling was his commitment to his council duties that his colleagues on the district and county councils saw fit to honour Chris with presentations and testimonials during the last few weeks of his life. It is to be regretted that he did not receive the honours and awards that might have been his due, during his public life; but his achievements in securing funds for education in Gainsborough, his professional approach to his responsibilities as the chairman of the planning committee, and his year’s service with the Police Authority will be long remembered.”
“Chris will be remembered with respect and/or affection by all who knew him.”
“When the ‘Honourable Member for Scotter’ rose to his feet in a council chamber, his colleagues listened. If they did not he would bark at them stating ‘if you would pay attention you might learn something’. But that was Kit’s public life, and he attributed his oratory to his delivery and he attributed his delivery to ‘voice training’.”
Coun Rodgers said there was more to Coun Underwood-Frost than many could have known.
She said: “He was a singer, and he learned to roller skate. That was to do with ‘Starlight Express’. Chris went to the same singing coach as Sarah Brightman; he auditioned for a leading role in Les Miserable, and was a close friend of Phantom of the Opera singer Barry James. In other words Councillor Underwood Frost was in West End Theatre. That was after his four year Army Career in as a Grenadier Guardsman, where he was noted as an outstanding marksman.”
“There were many facets to the life of Christopher Underwood-Frost: many in the public domain; but in private Chris was fighting a battle against cancer that needed the courage of a soldier and the presence of theatrical when the show had to go on.”
“Again, in private, he was given the strength to go on by his devotion to his son Max. And in any tribute to Chris tribute must also be given to his mother Sally who has supported and nursed him during his declining days. Clearly the best way to remember Chris would be to support those whom he loved.”
Coun Reg Shore said: “Chris and I joined the council together in 1999, we became the biggest of rivals in the closest sense. I will miss him greatly as he was an essential part of the council. There will be a big hole left in my heart as well as my council. I will miss him.”
His words were echoed by Coun Alan Caine said: “Chris worked incredibly hard for the council and for his community. It’s a great loss to the council and to his family.”
Coun Geoff Wiseman described him as ‘one of the most genuine people you could meet.’
He added: “He had time for everybody and he worked hard for both the district and the county council. The council is very grateful for all the work he has done especially on the planning committee.”
Mark Sturgess, director of regeneration and planning said: “When I first started with West Lindsey District Council I worked with Coun Underwood-Frost in the wake of the Audit Commission’s report into the operation of the planning service at the council.”
“Throughout this period of upheaval Chris was always a man of great integrity who had a clear vision what he wanted to achieve with the planning service. Whilst he could be challenging with both officers and members he was always fair and had regard to the greater interest of West Lindsey and the planning service in all he sought to achieve. He also supported the people of Scotter when issues affected them.”
“In my career I have worked with a number of chairs of planning committees and I must say that of all of those I have worked with Chris was one of the best. I will personally miss him and I know he will be sorely missed by both the councillors and officers of the council and the residents of the district who have cause to use the planning service at West Lindsey.”