Freeman and ‘champion’ Peter Bolt dies

Mr Bolt, who passed away on Friday [September 13], was the 22nd individual to receive the honour in Tonbridge & Malling, which he was given for ‘exceptional contribution to the borough and to local life’.

He was the council’s longest-standing councillor, having retired in April after 40 years representing Judd ward as a Conservative.


He had served for so long that he also sat on the council’s predecessor, the Tonbridge Urban Council – and told the Times this year, ‘I’m the only one left’.

Mr Bolt’s most notable achievements were the erection of the Leigh Flood Barrier and the construction of Woodgate Way, which diverted traffic away from the town centre.

He had lived in Tonbridge since 1965 with Margaret, to whom he was married for 55 years.

The couple have two children.

The leader of the council, Nicolas Heslop, paid tribute to Mr Bolt, saying: “Peter was the most hard-working and dedicated councillor and always fought extremely hard to get the very best for the communities he served.

“He was the champion for the Judd ward over many years. He was the most polite and courteous of colleagues.

“He had a true passion for meeting residents, hearing their views and thoughts, as well as taking time to explain particular issues that might affect them.”

He added: “Soon after I moved to Tonbridge and then lived in the Judd ward, Peter canvassed me one evening; we had not previously met, yet he spent a good 20 minutes in conversation.

“I was very pleased that the Mayor was able to present Peter with his Honorary Freeman just a few weeks ago. I know that this accolade meant an enormous amount to him and Margaret.”

Mr Heslop continued: “Our thoughts are with Margaret and the family at this difficult time for them.”

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