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Long-standing New Milton town, county and district councillor Alan Rice dies aged 90

THE death has been announced of long-standing New Milton town, county and district councillor Alan Rice who dedicated decades of service to the community.

New Milton Town Council confirmed on Monday that the 90-year-old had died. His body was found near his home in Whitefield Road last Thursday morning.

A Conservative, Cllr Rice was Hampshire County Council’s longest serving member, and across six decades supported various communities, councils and organisations in and around New Milton, the New Forest and the county.

Cllr Alan Rice
Cllr Alan Rice

His long and loyal service was recognised in 2014 when he became the first person to be awarded the Freedom of the Town in New Milton.

He was also made an Honorary Alderman of Hampshire – a commendation presented in November 2017 by then leader Cllr Roy Perry.

Cllr Rice's family said in a statement: "He dedicated his life to helping people in and around the New Forest, a place he loved.

"He was such a well known figure within the community, and was loved and respected by so many.

"We, his family, have been left with a huge hole that can never be filled, and he will be sorely missed.

"He was a wonderful brother, uncle, great-uncle and great-great-uncle and we all loved him so very much."

The town council said: “Alan Rice, county councillor for Milford & Hordle division (including Fernhill, Hordle, Tiptoe, Everton, Keyhaven and Milford) dedicated himself to improving services to the local community and in helping to maintain this pleasant local environment.”

An ex-Territorial Reservist, Cllr Rice was a member of the Reserve Forces Association for South-East England, helping current and past service personnel.

He was awarded the Territorial Decoration (TD) in 1977.

In 2017 he was made an honorary alderman of Hampshire, an accolade presented by then-county council leader Cllr Roy Perry (right)
In 2017 he was made an honorary alderman of Hampshire, an accolade presented by then-county council leader Cllr Roy Perry (right)

Cllr Rice joined New Forest District Council upon its inception in 1973, having spent the last 10 years as member of the former Lymington Borough Council. He went on to serve 42 years.

He was also a founding member of the New Forest National Park Authority from 2005 to 2015, spending eight of those years on its planning committee.

As a past member of the Verderers' Court for eight years, he had long-standing interests in New Forest issues.

His role as a commoner meant he was one of few residents with rights of turbary – peat-cutting.

Having been an active long-time member and former chairman of the Hampshire Playing Fields Association, he continued supporting local sporting organisations and clubs, particularly youth amenities and play groups.

Many local organisations benefited from donations made by Cllr Rice through the county’s local grant schemes for councillors. Over £20,000 was given to several in Milford.

He supported Hordle’s Golden Hill Nature Reserve, as well as an environmental project fronted by village schoolchildren, and Tiptoe Green.

In New Milton, Cllr Rice contributed towards three raised dementia-friendly plots at the town council’s Becton Lane allotment site.

Despite stepping down as county councillor in May 2017 after 44 years, he continued serving on New Milton Town Council, which he joined as chair in May 1995.

Cllr Rice was also a long-standing member of the Royal British Legion’s branches in New Milton, Hordle and Milford.

He was also chair of the New Milton Memorial Hall Management Committee, governor of Milford Primary School and past governor of Hordle, Tiptoe and Arnewood schools.

As reported by the A&T, police set up a cordon outside Cllr Rice’s home after responding to reports a body had been found around 8.30am last Thursday.

A Hampshire police spokesperson said at the time: "The man’s death is not being treated as suspicious at this time.”

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