Fringe Box



Honorary Freeman Andrew Hodges Dies Suddenly

Published on: 17 Apr, 2022
Updated on: 31 Jan, 2023

Andrew Hodges, in his honorary freeman robes

The sudden death last week, on Tuesday, April 12, of one of Guildford’s honorary freeman, Andrew Hodges, 73, has saddened those who knew him. He collapsed while in town.

See added comments from the Mayor, the council leader and leader of the Conservative group at GBC, below.

Sallie Barker, chair of the Guildford Conservative Association said: “Andrew had a long involvement with Guildford Conservatives, where he held several positions within the association, most recently as president.

“He carried on making an important contribution to local life long after leaving the council, including his involvement with Street Angels and the Guildford Book Festival.

“Andrew was a fantastic person, a great friend and mentor to many. His humour and political insight on local matters will be greatly missed.”

And a former political colleague, Tony Rooth, still serving as a borough councillor, said: “It was a real shock to hear that Andrew has passed away. We worked well together on the Executive for years both when Andrew, and then I, were council leaders.

“Very sad news. Andrew contributed so much to our communities.”

Later, on April 20, others added their praise of the late freeman.

The current Mayor of Guildford,  Marsha Moseley, said: “I first met Andrew when I was elected to Guildford Borough Council in 1999. He was a fantastic mentor to me and all the other newly elected councillors.

“It was clear that Andrew was a man of great integrity and he had many other outstanding talents. He cared passionately about all the people who lived within Guildford Borough. This is reflected in both his long and distinguished service with the Council and also with his selfless commitment to the many voluntary and charitable organisations with which he was involved in.

“In 2011, Andrew was bestowed with the rare but well-deserved title Honorary Freeman of the borough, in recognition of his exceptional service to Guildford borough; as councillor, Mayor, and as leader of the council.

“Today, I and the rest of Guildford now mourn the loss of a true friend; there is no doubt that Andrew will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.”

Council leader Joss Bigmore said: “Andrew Hodges did so much for the people of our borough. He served as a school governor, supported local charities, and championed older people and sports. Well-respected and much loved, he will be remembered for his fantastic contribution to the borough. Rest in peace Andrew, you will never be forgotten.”

And leader of the Conservative group, Paul Spooner, added: “Andrew’s selfless commitment to achieve the best for his fellow residents in Guildford was an example to us all. He was a mentor to new and experienced councillors and his focus on community enabled the council to deliver two major leisure venues, Spectrum and G Live. He was a very special person.”

Andrew Hodges was first elected to Guildford Borough Council in 1976, representing  Christchurch ward and he served on all the main council committees.  He was Mayor of Guildford in 1987-88, leader of the council from 2003 to 2010 and deputy leader and lead councillor for Finance and Resources in 2010-11.

In his earlier years on the council, Andrew was vice-chairman of the former Personal Services Committee from 1977 to 1983 and became chairman of that committee in 1983 which he held until 1987.  He was also chairman of the successor Housing and Health Committee from 1993 to 1995. He was vice-chairman of the former Arts and Recreation Committee between 1990 and 1992.

In addition to his numerous GBC appointments, he served on a myriad of outside bodies as the council’s representative including:

  • Guildford Youth and Community Centre from 1976 to 1995
  • Governor of George Abbot School from 1977 to 1988
  • Guildford Old People’s Welfare Council 1979 to 1988
  • Guildford Area Unemployed People’s Centre from 1984 to 1989
  • Guildford Adventurers/Disability Challengers from 1986 to 1999
  • South East Regional Council for Sport and Recreation from 1988 to 1993
  • Surrey County Playing Fields Association from 1990 to 1994
  • Guildford Area Community Care from 1991 to 1998
  • Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Management Board from 1992 to 2003
  • Surrey Local Government Association from 1999 to 2011
  • South East England Regional Assembly from 2003 to 2009

On 22 November 2011, the council conferred the title of Honorary Freeman of the Borough upon Andrew Hodges in recognition of his long and distinguished service to the Borough of Guildford as a councillor, past Mayor, and leader of the council.

Conservative colleagues credit him with rebuilding the Conservative party at the borough council, leading them back to power in 2003 and placing the council on a sound financial footing. He also sat on the selection panel that adopted Anne Milton as the Conservative candidate for 2005.

Dedicating a great deal of his time after retiring from the council to voluntary and charitable causes including chairman of the Board of Directors of Guildford Borough Council Holdings Limited, he was a volunteer at Guildford Cathedral where his loss is known to be keenly felt.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

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Responses to Honorary Freeman Andrew Hodges Dies Suddenly

  1. Adrian Chandler Reply

    April 19, 2022 at 12:04 pm

    A dear friend I miss terribly. RIP Andrew.

  2. Tom Hunt Reply

    April 19, 2022 at 12:11 pm

    I only got to know Andrew since 2019, and served with him on the board of Guildford Borough Council Holdings Ltd. I will miss his no-nonsense approach to everything, and (as he lived not far from me) seeing him stroll up and down the road, keeping an eye on all that was going on! His death is a sad loss to Guildford.

    Tom Hunt is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Friary & St Nicolas

  3. Christian Holliday Reply

    April 19, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    This is really sad news. Such a sudden loss. Andrew contributed so much to Guildford over many years. I am grateful I had the chance to meet up with him two weeks ago. Little did I know it would be for the last time. Never take anyone for granted. Rest in peace Andrew.

    Christian Holliday is a former Conservative borough councillor.

  4. Sue Fox Reply

    April 20, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    Chris [Fox] and I were sad to see the death of Andrew Hodges this morning in The Dragon.

    Andrew and Chris worked together back in the day for Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) and later as councillors where despite very differing views we all got on well and were still exchanging Christmas cards until last year.

    In the 1980s when Guildford had a hung council and chairs of committees and leadership of the council changed mid-term we had some interesting times with positive compromise being agreed for the benefit of all.

    We were refereed by David Watts and still see many of that administration today who will all be saddened by this news.

    Andrew was one of the good guys. What a loss.

  5. Shirley West Reply

    April 20, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    I have just been told about Andrew’s passing and I am shocked. I only saw him two weeks ago and we had a long old chat.

    Andrew always supported my work with the British Heart Foundation in Guildford and I will never forget his smile and cheeky banter.

    RIP Andrew.

  6. Jane Lyons Reply

    April 20, 2022 at 9:19 pm

    I was shocked and saddened to hear of Andrew’s passing. I also only saw him a couple of weeks ago and as usual he was his charming, kind and helpful self. He was always supportive to Guildford Pubwatch as he was to everything that came his way to the benefit of our town and I am proud to have called him a friend.

    He most certainly was “one of the good guys”.

    RIP Andrew.

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