A FORMER Lord Mayor of Oxford who dedicated nearly 30 years of his life to serve the city has died.

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to Fred Ingram, whose decades of service to Oxford led to him being given the Freedom of the City.

He passed away on Wednesday, February 20 at the age of 100, the first Lord Mayor to become a centenarian.

His funeral will be held next week and as a mark of respect the flag at Town Hall in St Aldate’s will be flown at half-mast.

Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said: “As a councillor Fred made a huge contribution towards the city, particularly in relation to the development of leisure facilities in the 1970s.

“He was also a really strong advocate of the twinning links and was very important in developing them.

“Fred was a great servant to the city and a very important part of Oxford’s history.”

Mr Ingram’s first council role came as a member of the former Bullingdon Rural Council in 1947.

He became a Labour councillor in Oxford in 1956 and was a city councillor for 27 years before stepping down in 1983.

Mr Ingram left the Labour Party in 1961, continuing to hold his seat as an independent and then as a Conservative, though he eventually left that party as well.

In 1973-74 he served as Lord Mayor of Oxford.

He was the leader of the Conservative group for eight years and from 1976 to 1980 served as the leader of the council.

Outside of the council he was also involved in Oxfordshire Community Churches and was chairman of the Freemen of the City of Oxford for six years until 2004.

Howard Crapper, the current chairman of the Freemen, said: “Fred was always pleased to tell his friends that he was born in the city, educated in the city and his career and later years kept him centrally in the city.

“This pride in Oxford was the driving force of his determination to give his best shot in improving the lives of others who shared this city as their home.

“His love of his wife Liz and his family were always uppermost but his love for Oxford people and Oxford buildings and heritage were central in his inner soul.”

Mr Ingram was born in Cowley Road and lived in Saunders Road for most of his life until he moved out two years ago because of his deteriorating health.

He moved into Winterbrook Nursing Home in Wallingford after a fall. Born on March 30, 1912, Mr Ingram went to the Central Grammar school in Oxford and joined the Army, serving in Gibraltar and Palestine before being demobbed on medical grounds.

After working at Morris Motors he took a job at a legal practice in Oxford which he kept for the rest of his career.

His wife Liz died five years ago but Mr Ingram, who was made an MBE for his services to the city, is survived by four of his five children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A service of thanksgiving will be held is next Thursday at 3.30pm at The King’s Centre in Osney Mead.