Obituary: Former Saffron Walden mayor and war veteran passes away

Ronald Dean, former mayor of Saffron Walden and UDC chairman

Ronald Dean, former mayor of Saffron Walden and UDC chairman


A former mayor of Saffron Walden and district council chairman who served in the Second World War has died aged 96.

Ronald Dean became mayor in 1987 and provided the town with its Victorian-style bandstand, now situated in Jubilee Gardens, which was his project during his term in office.

Mr Dean, who moved to Saffron Walden in 1980, also served on the district council and was elected in 1991 before becoming council chairman in 1999.

As chairman, he raised a considerable amount of money for the charity Crossroads – who provide respite care for carers and their dependants.

Born in London in 1920, Mr Dean’s family moved out of the capital after the First World War and settled in Wickford.

In 1936, he took a job as a clerk with Essex County Council in Chelmsford before joining the 104th Essex Yeomanry Regiment RHA at the outbreak of the Second World War.

Originally stationed in Egypt, his regiment served in most of the Western desert battles, becoming part of the famous 7th Armoured Division – known as the Desert Rats.

First captured by German troops in Benghazi in 1941, he spent time in prisoner of war camps and escaped from a base in the Italian city of Sulmona, where he returned to visit in 2005.

After the war, Mr Dean resumed his civilian duties with Essex County Council in Chelmsford, where he spent 44 years before his retirement in 1980.

Following his move to Saffron Walden, Mr Dean became actively involved with the Conservative party and the town’s political scene.

He spent 16 years as a councillor before finally stepping down from active politics in 2003, following the death of his wife Carol a year earlier.

He published his memoirs last year, entitled Boy Among the Brambles, which detailed his wartime exploits and public service duties.

Mr Dean was most recently a resident at Highfield Care Home after previously living at Thorncroft in the town, and died on Friday, October 28.

He is survived by only son Michael and the funeral will be held at St James’ Church, Sewards End, on Tuesday, November 15 at 2.30pm.

All are welcome.

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