Below is a brief but hopefully inspiring commentary about Chris Morgan who sadly passed away on Good Friday. Chris certainly inspired me and without his early encouragement I doubt I would be as actively involved locally as I am now. This isn’t a biography but is just a small insight into Chris’s public life. Please feel free to add your own.
Chris came from the West Midlands and he moved to Essex for his work as he was employed by Fords and then as now Dunton was the place to be. Chris told me many years ago that he chose to live in Hullbridge because it was cheaper than other places, he was pleased to say it was no longer so and had become a more desirable place to live, much of that could in fact be said to be down to Chris himself.
He was a member of the Labour Party as well as being both a District Councilor and Parish Councilor for many years. Chris was in fact on Rochford District Council in its first year of existence in 1973, remaining a District Councilor until stepping down in 2004 and as a Parish Councilor until 2008. As a District Council he represented Hullbridge and the residents conscientiously and always put Hullbridge first, so much so he was once told off for “always putting Hullbridge first”.
Chris Black, who served on the council at the same time as Chris has written in onlinefocus
“If you were putting forward a proposal , if there was one councillor in another party you wanted to say you were right, it was Chris. When he was putting forward a motion himself, he didn’t seem to compromise on his principles – there was one occasion shortly before he was up for re-election when he supported a planning application, even though he knew it would lose him badly-needed votes.”
As a member of the District Council he was also leader for a while, the person in political charge of the council as opposed to the “civilian” Chief Executive. He told me he enjoyed this a great deal, despite the pressures it put on his time and though as an employee of Ford they allowed him time off for Council work he was unwilling to put extra pressure on his work team and made up time he took off.
Chris also took his turn at being Chairman of the council, the person in ceremonial charge who chairs the Council meetings and represents the Rochford District at events around the County or even country.
The Hullbridge Community Centre was dear to Chris’s heart and it is doubtful if it would exist in its current form today without the efforts he put in, if you look up to the left where the Pre-School has its room you will see that part of the building is called the Chris Morgan Wing. He was instrumental in starting the pre-school at the community centre which is still running successfully today. Chris was proud of this organization and justifiably so. This is where I first met Chris and he ended up persuading me to go to the AGM where somehow I ended up as treasurer.
As well as being Chairman of the Hullbridge Community Association he has also been Chairman of the HCA Social Club and latterly was responsible for obtaining grants for both organisations, something he was good at with a £1,500 grant being awarded just this year.
Another of his many roles was editor, compiler and printer of the Ripples magazine the community magazine for Hullbridge which he started. This is highly successful and it’s doubtful if anyone of reading age in Hullbridge does not know of it.
Riverside School was very important to Chris and he was a governor first on the Junior School and then as a Governor of the new Primary School, until his untimely death.
In recent years Chris became involved in the University of the Third Age which started a few years ago, based in Hullbridge Community Centre and which boasts membership of over 250 people. Chris was not just a member of this organization but was the Chairman, as ever continually showing that interest in his community which never failed.