Tributes to 'larger-than-life' former Redbridge mayoral officer
- Credit: Mark Evans
Tributes have been paid to a man who worked tirelessly behind the scenes for decades to help the mayors of Redbridge.
A former Grenadier Guard, former chief mayoral officer John Evans first joined Redbridge Council as a chauffeur to the Redbridge mayor in 1989 and soon after became the chief mayoral officer - a role he dutifully fulfilled until his retirement in 2010.
He died aged 79 after a short illness on April 4.
His first career in the military was the perfect set up for his role in the mayor's office, where he was very particular about getting the pomp and circumstance just right.
Former mayor Loraine Sladden recalled his "larger than life" presence and said, while the mayor was the face of the office, John was the brains.
She told the Recorder: "We may have been the mayors or mayoresses but it was John who was the one who pulled it all together.
"He was my rock and always gave me a hug when I needed it.
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"He was always there for me helping me raise nearly £114,000 for charity and ensuring I kept over 2,000 engagements."
Another former mayor, Cllr Joyce Ryan (Con, Fairlop), said John was "absolutely fastidious" about the role.
"He made sure you knew that when you wore that chain you were the civic representative for Redbridge and you had to give respect to the office, not the person.
"He was always immaculately dressed and expected the mayor to be the same."
She added that he knew London's streets like the back of his hand and, when he was driving, she never worried about being late.
He was married to his wife Cathy for 56 years.
His son Mark said once his mum died in 2019, it "broke" John.
He said: "I am biased but as a dad he was second to none.
"So was his sense of humour and he could remember a joke word for word."
John had a passion for researching Redbridge's history and enjoyed giving talks to school children about the things he learned.
Mark said: "It's a shame because all that knowledge has gone with him."
He is survived by four children, eight grandchildren, sixteen great-grandchildren and two great, great-grandchildren.
To donate to charities John was passionate about, please visit https://john-edward-evans.muchloved.com/.