Tributes paid to a Rugby man who inspired many

Chris Holman NNL-160908-114514001
Chris Holman NNL-160908-114514001

Tributes have been paid to Chris Holman, one of the leading lights of the Liberal Democrats in Rugby, who died recently.

He will be well remembered for his time as a Rugby Borough councillor for Rokeby and Hillside, cutting a distinctive figure with his love of bow ties.

He was elected to what was then called Caldecott Ward in May 1994 and though he retired due to ill health in 2010, he continued to support the Lib Dem cause for so long as he was able.

Current Rokeby councillor Bill Lewis said: “Chris’s wife, Maggie, died in January and since then his health has deteriorated very quickly requiring a number of periods in hospital.” He died on July 26 at Walsgrave.

Though he had a long connection with Rugby, he was born in Truro in Cornwall in 1942, though with his father’s civilian and army postings he had eight different addresses and three schools before he was seven.

The main part of his schooling was in Plympton, Devon, before moving to start an apprenticeship with English Electric in Rugby in 1960.

Looking back on that decision he once said: “At that time, Rugby really did seem to be in the far north when viewed from the south coast.”

He decided to join the outside department and from 1965 he spent 23 years working on power stations in this country and overseas, finally returning to Rugby in 1988.

It was during this period, in 1970, Chris and Maggie married and went on to have two children, Judith and Alastair.

Politics was in his blood, with both parents being active Liberals and during his nomadic years he reckoned he had been active in at least five different constituencies.

Another passion was amateur theatre, treading the boards at school and, among others at Rugby College, Rugby Theatre and places as far apart as Thurso and South Africa.

He was also a Mayday Trust trustee for many years and in honour of his service, Holman House in Bedford was named after him in 2013.

Cllr Jerry Roodhouse said: “Chris was a life-long Liberal and this could be seen at first hand as a hard working local councillor for Caldecott as it was known.

“His Liberal beliefs led to local and national campaigns to open up the planning system, for Fairtrade along with the Mayday Trust and the Liberal Democrat Disability Forum. His close eye for detail as Election Agent helped the Liberal Democrats grow in Rugby.

“We had many good times together. Chris was a true campaigner out in the wet, cold and sun and well respected by all who worked with him.

“Chris and Maggie are now together, they were good friends and both will be sadly missed by all who knew them.”