Tributes paid to Towyn councillor described as "one of life's true gents"


Suzanne Jordan

TRIBUTES have been paid to “one of life’s true gents” who died following a battle with motor neurone disease.

William John Charles Knightly, a Welsh Conservative county councillor for Towyn, a town councillor on Towyn and Kinmel Bay Town Council and the leader of the conservative group on Conwy county council, died on Saturday, August 9 in St David’s Hospice. He was 70-years-old.

Mr Knightly, who ran a Towyn funfair and amusement park and formerly held the chair of the police and crime panel, was presented with his MBE inisignia last month after being after being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. He was a former mayor and served as a councillor for more than 14 years.

Mr Knightly, who was married to Linda for 26 years, was born in Warrington and was the son of Amy and Bill Knightly. He had six children, Luke, Louise, Laura, Jacob, Eve and Hannah and five grandchildren Abe, Grace, Oliver, May and Bee Adey.

His son Luke, who runs Knightly’s Fun Park, said: “My dad was charismatic and dedicated to what he believed in. Aside from politics he had a great passion for gardening; being the winner of Wales in Bloom many times. He also loved working with wood. He was a great joiner – anything he could be hands on with. He loved snow, water skiing and walking.

“He loved his political role and was dedicated to what he did.”

His funeral will take place at St Thomas’s church, Rhyl, on Tuesday, August 19, at 11am.

Cars will leave Sandbank Road, Towyn, at around 10.30am (tbc). Close family flowers only and donations to St David’s Hospice, Llandudno.

The family would like every one in attendance to join them in the Kinmel manor Abergele after the service.

David Jones, MP for Clwyd West, said: “William Knightly was a good friend of mine for many years. The world is emptier as a result of his passing.”

Dilwyn Roberts, Conwy County Council leader, added: “William would always make you smile as he shared some of his experiences over a cup of tea.”


Tributes continue...

MOVING tributes have flooded in for Towyn Councillor William Knightly who died on Saturday, aged 70.

William Knightly was diagnosed with motor neurone disease – a condition where parts of the nervous system becomes damaged, in October 2012.

His son, Luke Knightly, 42, expressed that his father faced the condition “head on like everything else in his life”.

He said: “He died peacefully. My father will not only be a huge loss to our family but the area also, he had so much to give. I am proud to carry on his legacy with my family.”

William Knightly was the Welsh conservative county councillor for Towyn, a town councillor on Towyn and Kinmel Bay council, the leader of the conservative group on Conwy County Council and had served as the chair of the police and crime panel.
His company, Knightly’s European Leisure, was purchased from his father William (Bill) John Charles Knightly senior in the 70s.

David Jones, MP for Clwyd West, said: “William Knightly was a good friend of mine. He fought hard for the interests of his community. He was a staunch, lifelong Conservative and served with great distinction as Chairman of Clwyd West Conservative Association for four years.

“William was forthright and plain-spoken, but always kind, generous and thoughtful. I was delighted when he was awarded the MBE in the Birthday Honours and was pleased that he was invested with his honour shortly before he died.

“There are very few people like William Knightly. He made everyone feel special. I am dreadfully saddened by his death.

Winston Roddick CB QC, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, commented that William Knightly was the first chair of the Police and Crime Panel and “he set the standard – as he did in so many other things.”
“He was enormously helpful and encouraging,” he said.
“Being the first police and crime commissioner, I benefited considerably from those qualities. He was driven by the interests of those whom he served. His advice was always measured and of value.”

Mandy Ellis, coastal group advertisement manager for NWN Media, said that she had known Mr Knightly for more than 33 years. She described him as a “darling of a man, always with a smile on his face”.

“Where do you start to pay tribute to such a lovely man?” she asked.

“He was a highly respected businessman and councillor. He had a kind word for everyone, even during the horrendous Towyn floods which devastated his business and his home, William’s thought was always for others.

“He bore his illness with huge bravery, and I was pleased that he was honoured with an MBE and was able to accept it in person shortly before his death.”

A spokesperson from Towyn and Kinmel Bay Town Council said that “you would be hard pushed to find anyone locally who doesn’t know the name William Knightly”.
She added: “Whether it’s from visiting his fairground, his selfless work within the community, his role as a town and county Councillor or simply his dedication to his family.

“It is a very solemn time for Towyn and Kinmel Bay Town Council with the extremely sad news that Cllr Knightly is no longer with us. He was one of life’s true gents and it was an honour to have had the privilege to know and work with him. He will be greatly missed.”

Dilwyn Roberts, Conwy County Council leader, said: “William would often talk about his family with passion and pride and often said how pleased he was that they had supported him in his business and also his political responsibilities, enabling him to be involved in community work.

“His battle over recent months have shown that as well as being passionate, hardworking and kind man, he was also very brave.

“He has been a credit to his community, to the council and to his politics and his contribution to Conwy County Borough Council.

“We will remember William with respect and admiration.”

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