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Leader of Council dies

The Leader of West Berkshire Council, Roger Croft, has died.

Roger was involved in an accident while travelling to visit family in France five weeks ago. His wife, Zelda, died in the accident and Roger had been in hospital in France being treated for serious injuries. Unfortunately he was unable to recover and he died on Friday evening.

In a tweet on Sunday morning, MP Richard Benyon said it would be hard to find someone more decent or kind.

He added: "So sad that my friend and leader of West Berks Council, Roger Croft, has died."

Roger's wife died in a car accident in France earlier this year. Roger was seriously injured.

Cllr Alan Macro wrote: "I am sad to report the death of Roger Croft, leader of West Berks Council. Roger was seriously injured in a road crash in France about five weeks ago in which his wife was killed."

Emma Webster wrote: "News of the death of Roger Croft has hit us all. He was an inspiring Leader, amazing man & great friend. Now reunited with his beloved Zelda."

Former Councillor, Emma Warman, said: "Sad to learn of the death of West Berks council leader Roger Croft following road accident some weeks ago. Thoughts with family & friends."

Paying tribute to Roger, Councillor Graham Jones, Acting Leader of West Berkshire Council said: "When Roger got elected in 2011 we quickly realised he had a huge amount to offer‎ and he rapidly progressed to be an Executive Member then to deputy leader and leader.

"Whilst Roger got elected to West Berks Council after 'retirement' he brought with him the zeal and energy of a much younger‎ man but this was always tempered by lots of life experience on how to get things done. Whilst driving through his own ideas he was always willing to learn and very quickly built up an extensive networks of contacts both in politics and across West Berkshire.

"Across the council he had huge respect from colleagues for his leadership and dedication. ‎He was above all else focused on the result and 'would it help the council tax payer?' There is much of what I know he wanted to achieve left undone which we will finish in his memory.

"Zelda's support was so important to him and they both became good friends. We will miss them both terribly."

Nick Carter, Chief Executive of West Berkshire Council added: "I will remember Roger for his energy, drive and vision. He was the architect behind the current Council Strategy and at the time of his passing was playing a lead role in exploring a range of new income opportunities for the Council. He was also very proud of the Council's contract with Gigaclear which is currently bringing superfast broadband to the District. He worked at a great pace and could be difficult to keep up with such was his desire to get things done. We will all miss his energy, his real passion for serving the communities here in West Berkshire and of course his friendship and humour."

Councillor Jones will remain Acting Leader of West Berkshire Council for now and supported by Acting Deputy Leader Hilary Cole. It is expected that a new Leader will be elected in the next couple of months.

Roger was a Conservative Cllr, Leader of Council, Strategy and Performance & Economic Growth. He also represented Thatcham South & Crookham ward.

He was 70 years old.

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