David Rendel came to the attention of the general public in May 1993 when he won the Newbury By-Election for the Liberal Democrats with a record majority of 22,055.
I joined the party in December 1991, after taking early retirement.
I was soon working with David for the 1992 general election Our canvassing was going well until Kinnock made his infamous Sheffield speech, the rest is history.
The sitting MP died in January 1993, and the Newbury By Election was called for May 6th, the same day as the County Council elections, where I was standing in the Tory Division of Newbury Downlands. (I gained the seat with a Lib Dem majority of 627)
I came to know David well during the campaign. The first obvious quality was his energy, to be expected from an Oxford Blue. He canvassed the Newbury Downlands at a gallop, most appropriate for a Division where horse racing is the major industry.
As I worked with David on a number of projects I came to appreciate a conviction politician of integrity and honesty. As Chair of the Local Highways Committee I campaigned with David for the Newbury By-Pass, which
did not endear us to Liberal
Democrats outside Newbury. He opposed hunting, in an area where the horse ruled. He was the only member of the National Executive to vote against going into national coalition with the Tories.
Nothing was too much trouble for David. He looked after Newbury and has left a imprint from his campaigning. Not just the By Pass, but a Hospital, a Cinema and the historic Wharf area saved from destruction.
David had courage in spades.
He addressed thousands of by pass protestors at the third battle off Newbury. He had a rough ride, but when the gathering broke up and the protestors went home in their cars he returned to Newbury on his bike.
David was my political mentor and my friend. We kept in touch when I left Berkshire, by e-mail, visits to Newbury and dinners at conference. He came to North Staffordshire to address students at Keele.
We shared concerns as to the way the party was heading.
I am one of hundreds who will miss him, a caring man who made a positive impact on the lives of many.
Alderman David Becket