Tributes to former Mayor of Chichester John Rankin

John Cooper Rankin with his grandson Daniel, Christmas 2014.
John Cooper Rankin with his grandson Daniel, Christmas 2014.

Friends and family of John Rankin have paid tribute to the former mayor of Chichester after he died on Saturday June 18 aged 91.

Described as a loving father and grandfather, Mr Rankin served on the city, district and county councils over a period of 35 years, including two terms as city mayor.

A minute’s silence was held at a meeting of Chichester City Council on Wednesday June 22 in his memory and a funeral service is planned at Chichester Cathedral on July 1.

His daughters Fiona Blyth and Catherine Rankin wrote: “Our father was very special: he loved us so much and us girls (no longer girls any more!) were always indulged. He led by example and showed us how to follow the right path in life.

“He had a strong faith and was committed to many causes, not least the community of Chichester.”

Born on August 27 1924, Mr Rankin first came to the city while serving in the navy during World War Two. The family moved to Chichester in 1969 and John took up a position as a senior lecturer of RE at Bishop Otter College.

He served as a Chichester councillor for the Liberal Democrats for more than three decades and at one time held the office of city, district and county councillor simultaneously.

His contribution as mayor in 1986 included setting up the council’s civic awards scheme to honour those who give of themselves for the good of the city. He was elected as Mayor of Chichester for a second time in 1991.

A surprise birthday party to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2014 was attended by numerous former colleagues and friends.

The family have extended their thanks to staff at St Wilfrid’s Hospice for their support at the end of his life.

Fiona added: “In the last 13 years he has been a loving grandpa to Daniel, who will of course miss him greatly, but he will have many special memories of time spent with him and they enjoyed a close relationship and were great pals.

“We have been so lucky to have this father to depend on for all these years – a reliable rock and a constant friend.”

City councillor Anne Scicluna, who worked with Mr Rankin on the council for more than 30 years, described him as ‘a very good friend’.

“He was a man of total integrity and strength, working for the city unstintingly,” she said.

“Like many other people, I appreciated his humour and also his sound advice and support. Chichester and his family and friends will miss him, but I believe that our city is a better place for having had John amongst us and working for and with us. His legacy lives on.”

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