Rugbeians pay tribute to town's first Afro-Caribbean mayor after his death

Mr Williams joined by Cody the British Barn Owl as he celebrates St George's day in 2011.
Mr Williams joined by Cody the British Barn Owl as he celebrates St George's day in 2011.

Family, friends and colleagues have paid tribute to Rugby’s first Afro-Caribbean mayor and a ‘giant in the community’ after he died aged 86 last week.

Jamaican-born Donald Williams came to Rugby with his late brother, Winston Williams, in 1957 and served the community for decades, culminating in his becoming mayor in 2010.

Mr Williams attending the Rugby Lions pancake race, 2011.

Mr Williams attending the Rugby Lions pancake race, 2011.

The father-of-three has been praised by his family. His son, Mike Williams, said: “He was respected by every community. People would cook for him, invite him to barbecues and knock on the door to see how he was doing.

"He could command an audience just by walking into a room – he was a mountain of a man.

“Whatever he did, he did for the right reasons. He was very humble and would never boast about what he did.”

Friend and colleague Cllr Alan Webb said: “Don wasn’t a big chap, but he was a giant in the community. He was a very principled man and a great friend.”

Cllr Kieren Brown said: “He was a great man who stood up for all the people in his town.”

Mr Williams, a long-standing member of the Labour Party, joined his brother Winston to create Rugby’s first Community Relations Council, before setting up the Rugby West Indian Association in 1963.

The association continues to serve the community today.

After being appointed mayor in a ceremony attended by the Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Mr Williams set the key aims for his 12 months in office as raising money for the air ambulance and raising the profile of Rugby’s West African community.

It is understood Mr Williams will receive a civic funeral.