Tributes paid to Stephen Tarling, Sway parish councillor and member of the New Forest National Park Authority
Tributes have been paid to Sway parish councillor and NPA member Stephen Tarling who died at the weekend after a short illness.
His death was announced online by Sway Parish Council which praised his “tireless energy and significant contribution” to the village.
In the message posted today under a photo of Stephen, the council wrote: “Sway Parish Council is sad to announce that Stephen Tarling passed away on Sunday 29th of October after a short illness.”
Howard Millett, chair of the council, paid tribute: “Our thoughts are with his family and friends. As a parish councillor for many years and more recently as a member of the NPA as well Stephen’s tireless energy and significant contribution to Sway and the New Forest will be sorely missed.”
Tony Hockley, former chair of the Commoners’ Defence Association posted underneath the announcement saying: “So sorry to hear this. Stephen had a great dedication to public service in Sway and the Forest and was always lovely to deal with.
“I greatly enjoyed our chats about the Forest, politics and academic life. A great loss to the community.”
Villagers also wrote saying how much they would miss him with one saying: “A great loss, such a kind and intelligent man.”
Another wrote: “How very sad, Stephen was an incredible person who managed to covers so much groundwork and hard work into anything he put his mind to.
“He was also a very caring man which I saw hands on when he would do the Dementia Friends meetings. My thoughts go to his family and friends and also the village of Sway and its council as he will leave a huge gap.”
The NPA said it was “saddened” to hear of Stephen’s death.
In a statement it said: “The New Forest National Park Authority is saddened to learn of the death of one of its Board members after a short illness.
“Stephen Tarling joined the authority as a member in 2020 and served on the planning committee.
“He was also one of the authority’s first New Forest Ambassadors, a scheme set up in lockdown, which saw hundreds of local people helping to care for the Forest through activities such as litter picking. Stephen was a trustee on the Authority’s Pedall inclusive cycling charity and was an advocate for the New Forest Marque local produce scheme, showing his support through his holiday let.
“Stephen said his love of the Forest began with camping by Ober Water as a scout. A scientist and trainer, his background saw him measure pollutants in local streams from the Forest to the sea.”
NFNPA chair David Bence said: ‘Stephen’s passion for the Forest was very clear and he took a great interest in all aspects of the Authority’s work and many of its partner organisations.
“He was a dedicated board member and also a great support to our staff and members. With the Forest very much in his heart he will be much missed and our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.’
Cllr Tarling made headlines last year when he and Sway sleuths were successful in tracking down information about Eunice Gale who had left the council a bequest.
He told the A&T at the time: “My hobby is tracing family histories and I hoped someone in the village may have known her.
“But I did not expect the huge response I got. It was amazing – there was a lot of detective work by lots of different people and by piecing it all together I think we have got the full story.”
Together, the village managed to discover that Eunice was Eunice Elsie Rooney who was born on 30th June 1922 in the district of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, to a George and Violet. Her father was a railway crossing keeper.
Eunice Gale had bequeathed the funds in her will to the parish council but it had little information about her.
Cllr Stephen Tarling put a plea on social media asking villagers for more information about her, so her money could be spent in a fitting way.