The family of a longtime councilor and former Newark mayor who passed away on Saturday said he enjoyed making a difference.

Mr. Tom Bickley died peacefully at his home in Nursery Court in Newark. He was 88 years old.

Mr. Bickley was born in Edwinstowe to a miner and lived there for 34 years. He did his national service in the RAF and then opened a barber shop in Bilsthorpe.

Tom and Ondra Bickley (26795809)

He and his wife, Mrs. Ondra Bickley, were married in 1964 and had two children in 1970.

They moved to Newark and had an off-license on Sleaford Road for 24 years.

During this time, Mr. Bickley was involved in youth football and ran a team for five years. He was secretary of the Newark Youth Football League for six years.

In 1980 he was asked to run for the first Newark City Council.

He was elected and served a total of 35 years. He was also a Newark and Sherwood councilor for 15 years, including one year as chairman, and a judge for 20 years.

He was with Newark Age Concern for 16 years, including 14 years as chairman. He served as trustee of the Municipal General Charity, governor of Newark Technical College, president of the Newark Food and Drink Association, and helped found the Newark Twinning Association for 30 years.

Ms. Bickley said her husband never intended to be a councilor but did not look back after his election.

“He really enjoyed it. He liked being able to make a difference, ”she said.

“He was so busy that the kids would often ask how Dad did it, but he just loved helping people.”

Ms. Bickley said she and her husband were particularly excited about their second term as mayor.

“We had more time and we’d always done things together, so it was a natural thing. It was a nice way to end his time as a councilor, ”she said.

She said she made many friends through her role in city life.

Mr. Bickley helped build the Beaumond House Community Hspice, and Ms. Bickley said the hospice has been of great help in its final months.

Mr Bickley is leaving his wife, son and daughter-in-law Mark and Frances Bickley, daughter Helen Smith and grandsons Oliver, Jude, Zoë and Lucy.

A memorial service has yet to be arranged for Mr. Bickley.