Rodney Bennett, who represented South Richmond Ward as a councillor from 2002 to 2010 sadly passed away on Friday the 10th May. He had been in hospital after suffering a stroke.
Rodney was from a naval family and following national service in the Royal Navy he went into broadcasting. He was a lifelong Tory serving firstly on the Kensington & Chelsea Council in 1960s whilst writing and broadcasting at BBC/LBC where he was a well-known reporter and interviewer. He then spent several years as a broadcaster in Singapore and Ethiopia. He himself estimated that during his career he had carried out over eight thousand interviews.
Rodney was active in the trades union movement during the Thatcher and Major governments as a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (BECTU) of which he was given life membership for his services. He was an officeholder in the Conservative Trade Unionists (CTU) becoming its London chairman.
He moved to Richmond in 1990 where he became the leading light in the old Richmond Town Ward, and he was a candidate several times when we had few active members. He eventually won South Richmond in 2002 when the wards were re-organised, and the Conservatives were returned to power at York House. He served as a councillor until 2010 when he retired.
Rodney served on the planning and regulatory committees amongst others and spoke up for the Ward on many occasions. He was a governor of Grey Court School in Ham and Vice-Chairman of Mortlake Crematorium. An often-trenchant letter writer his correspondence has appeared in many newspapers.
Rodney was a passionate opera lover and once informed that he had been to all the main opera houses across the World (including Manaus). His flat in Lichfield Court was decorated with many mementoes from past performances and at one time he contributed articles to the classic magazine, Music and Musicians.
He was always a very hard-working activist during very difficult years when the Liberal Democrats were in power in Richmond and Conservative Councillors were few; but that never stopped him! In his possession was a splendid of cartoon of Rodney from the “Richmond & Twickenham Times” being refused a glass of water in a Richmond restaurant, one of his favourites, as he was a renowned and avid letter-writer and author of many press releases during our years in opposition on Richmond Council.
The funeral is to be held at Mortlake Crematorium on Thursday 30th May at 10.40am. The family have requested no flowers.