A ‘ROSE Hill legend’ and Second World War veteran has been remembered for his tireless work in the community.

Former Lord Mayor of Oxford Bill Buckingham died on Wednesday age 96 at the Isis Care Home in Florence Park, leading to a flood of tributes from former colleagues.

The Labour member represented Rose Hill on the city council for decades and even after his retirement continued to help residents.

Yesterday, Ed Turner, deputy leader of Oxford City Council, spoke of Mr Buckingham’s devotion to the area.

He said: “He cared enormously and put in extraordinary shifts in his service.

“Whether it’s the time I found him in his mid-80s picking up litter with a grabber in the grounds of the community centre, or coming up every morning to be secretary, he was always in the heart of the community.”

Mr Buckingham was on the city council from May 1991 to May 2006 and Lord Mayor of Oxford from 1994 to 1995.

Prior to this he had been one of the city’s longest-serving public figures with almost three decades of experience on Bullingdon Rural District Council up to 1974 and then when it became South Oxfordshire District Council until 1991.

He was also Oxfordshire High Sheriff in 1993 and deputy Lord Mayor in 1994.

Formerly of Court Farm Road, he also held a seat on Littlemore Parish Council for many years.

Current parish councillor Dorian Hancock said: “I had known Bill for most of the time I have lived in the area, and his late sister Hilda Beesley. If ever there was a legend in local politics and community, it was Bill.”

Labour and Cooperative MP for Oxford East Anneliese Dodds, who lives in Rose Hill, echoed the sentiments, tweeting: “A legend in Rose Hill and across Oxford for everything he achieved, he’ll be sorely missed.”

The father-of-three played a huge role in supporting the Rose Hill Community Centre, through his work with the community association at The Oval. At the opening of the centre last year the ballroom was named in his honour.

Association chairwoman Carol Davis said: “He was so much a part of it. He’s going to be greatly missed.”

Prior to his life in politics, Mr Buckingham was a soldier with the 4th Battalion of Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

The veteran was a bugler in the regiment which was the forebear to 5th Battalion, The Royal Green Jackets, based at The Slade, Oxford.

He also served as a magistrate for more than 30 years and was a shop steward at the Cowley Mini Plant from 1948 to 1984 with the Transport and General Workers’ Union, now Unite.

Colleague and close friend Andrew Smith, former MP for Oxford East, said: “Bill was a remarkable and inspiring man and I was very grateful for his friendship and support.

“Through his war service, his dedication to the community and work on local councils he gave selflessly his time and energy for others.

“He will be missed very much.”

Oxford Mail readers have also paid their respects including Len Kevin Bateman who said: “Bill Buckingham was more than a legend at Rose Hill.

“He was Rose Hill.”