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Professor Howard Elcock 1942 - 2017

Members of CPRE were immensely saddened to hear of the sudden death of Howard Elcock...

...the Chair and leading figure of the Northumberland branch for many years, who died while on holiday in Greece at the age of 75. Howard had been a tireless campaigner for CPRE over many years and will be missed for his friendship, his energy and his considerable expertise in planning matters.

Howard was born on 6 June, 1942, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. He was educated at the Priory School for Boys and Queen's College, Oxford, where he took his first degree before going on to acquire a BPhil, MA and Doctorate. He began his teaching career at Hull University where he lectured in Politics from 1966 to 1981, gaining promotion to Senior Lecturer in 1977. Howard was a staunch supporter of the Labour Party and was elected to Humberside County Council from 1973 until 1981, serving as Planning Committee Chairman for two years from 1975.

He moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1981 as Head of the School of Government at the then Newcastle Polytechnic, later to become Northumbria University, and retired in 1977 as Professor (Emeritus) of Government. He had a distinguished career and is the author of several books (one considered the standard introduction to local government) and countless academic papers. A further book is to be published posthumously.

Howard joined CPRE in 2001. His academic and practical expertise in planning made him eminently qualified for it. His first major role in CPRE in the North East was as Regional Chair, a position he took up in 2006 and held for two terms. He had excellent leadership qualities and deployed his personal and administrative skills to great effect. In addition to his regional role, Howard served as an active member of Northumberland CPRE, representing the Newcastle district and eventually taking on the Chairmanship of the branch. 

Howard's activities were not limited to his various committee chairmanships. He was also diligent in the day-to-day work of CPRE, making site visits to look at planning applications, lodging objections where appropriate, submitting well-informed comments on Local Plans and engaging with members of the public who came to CPRE for help and advice. Howard also played a full role in relation to the national organisation and was a regular attendee at conferences and national events.

Apart from his work for CPRE, Howard had a wide range of other interests. He loved classical music, opera in particular, making trips to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, while regularly attending concerts at The Sage where he was a member. Howard had a strong religious faith and worshipped at All Saints Church, Gosforth, where he was a member of the PCC.

He was also a keen sailor, a member of the Yorkshire Ouse Sailing Club and latterly the Tynemouth Sailing Club where he was at one time a Commodore and President. Howard sailed National 12s and kept a yacht in Greece for several years. He had a lifelong love of Greece and a flat in Tolo in the Peloponnese. He was on holiday there with family and friends when he suffered what appeared to be a heart attack from which he did not recover. He was buried in Greece, in the nearby church, as he had wished.

To all those who knew him, the loss of Howard has been a grievous blow. He was a kind, generous and essentially good man, with a drive to serve his community which he did in many different ways. He will be remembered with great affection and respect.

Les Ashworth   

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