A dedicated councillor who was a “true inspiration” to the community has passed away.

Cllr Derek Lacey lived in Chesham all his life until he sadly died on December 28 following an illness.

Born in the town in 1942 and educated at Germain Street Secondary School, he left school to become an apprentice upholsterer, was a Chesham market trader for 20 years, owned two clothing shops in the town and worked for Barclays Bank for the last seven years before retirement.

He became a town councillor for Chesham in 1987 serving continuously up until his death and was town mayor for two terms, in 1995/96 and 2011/12.

During these two periods, he raised several thousands of pounds for both Amersham Hospital and the Douglas McMinn Centre in Chesham. He was also instrumental in forming the Pond Park Community Association and worked tirelessly to improve youth facilities and keep vital bus routes.

In recent years Derek worked with the association to raise funds for three new play areas in the Pond Park area. He led the fundraising efforts to get £24,000 in funding for the Batchelors Way play area.

In 2016, he was shortlisted out of several hundred nominations for the ‘Parish Councillor of the Year’ award, reaching the final and receiving a special commendations for his efforts.

Chesham town clerk, Bill Richards, said Derek struggled bravely against diabetes throughout his life but never let it stop him putting the town council, the town and his electorate in Ridgeway first.

He was passionate about preserving Chesham’s traditional way of life and uniqueness and ensuring the renowned independent shops and businesses continued to flourish.

Sadly Derek was taken ill in spring 2017 and suffered from pneumonia, and a heart attack which resulted in his second leg being removed. He still through all of this remained interested in to what was happening locally both to the town and his residents.

Bill said: “Ever since I took on the Clerk role in 2003, Derek was always around to offer words and support and would often propose down to earth and pragmatic solutions to problems that may have passed me and others by.

“I was always grateful for his straight talking, usually supplied with a cheeky smile or a laugh. Knowing his love for the customs and history of the town, fellow councillors were happy to delegate Derek to organise the town fairs and circuses which he did with enthusiasm and skill.

“He will be sadly missed by everyone at the town council and indeed by the very many people who knew him personally in Chesham.”

Friend and fellow town councillor, deputy leader of Bucks County Council Mark Shaw said he was “lucky” to have been able to work with Derek on a number of projects.

He said: “He as an individual was a true inspiration to the whole community given the serve health problems he suffered from – diabetes, type one, which had led to coronary problems and the loss of his leg.

“He still approached any issue or cause with the same zeal and energy that he did over twenty years ago. To put it very simply Derek was Chesham and Chesham was Derek, he was is known and respected by all in the town.”

Derek is survived by his wife Trudy and his two daughters.