Obituary: John Wade, former councillor

John Wade
John Wade
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John Wade, who has died at 93, was a former South Yorkshire councillor who created the distinctive Long Vehicle sign for lorries, after recognising a safety hazard while commuting to work.

A motorcycle racer in his younger days, two wheels remained his preferred mode of transport for getting from his home in the Barnsley village of Oxspring to his job in the engineering industry.

Frequently finding it necessary to overtake slow-moving lorries on country roads, he came up with the idea of a reflective sign as a safety reminder for others in the same position, and persuaded the authorities to adopt his suggestion. It is a legal requirement for larger HGVs to this day.

While that idea had national implications, the bulk of his energy was put into his local community, with a public service career extending across 50 years.

It included terms on the old Penistone Rural District Council, Barnsley Council and Oxspring Parish Council, on which he served as chairman. In addition, he spent half a century on the board of governors at Oxspring primary school, which he had attended as a child, standing down only in his 90s. He was involved in three campaigns to fight off the school’s closure during that time.

He was also at the vanguard of a campaign to prevent a sewage works from being constructed close to the heart of Oxspring in the 1960s, which would have taken up land that is now a popular picnic area.

Although keen to preserve the heritage of the village, he was also an advocate of development to ensure it progressed. He spoke in opposition when housing was proposed close to a historic pack horse bridge, but supported affordable new developments elsewhere.

Earlier this year he was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Oxspring.

He is survived by his wife, Betty, and daughter Cheryl.