Tributes paid following death of Rodney Bass OBE, former Essex County Councillor and Essex Freemasons Provincial Grand Master

PUBLISHED: 14:00 18 July 2020

Rodney Bass receiving his OBE, with wife Margaret. Picture: Essex Freemasons

Rodney Bass receiving his OBE, with wife Margaret. Picture: Essex Freemasons

Essex Freemasons

Tributes have been paid to Rodney Bass OBE who has died. The three words “vision, courage, integrity” were his motto for life.

Cllr Rodney Bass in 2011, raising the Armed Forces Day flagCllr Rodney Bass in 2011, raising the Armed Forces Day flag

Tributes have been paid to Rodney Bass OBE, an honorary Alderman and former Essex County Council chairman who has died.

Mr Bass served as a councillor for 50 years and was a lead cabinet member for almost a decade spread over two periods.

He sat on and chaired most council committees from 1997. He also served on Maldon District Council until 2007.

He was one of a very select group in Essex to serve as chairman of both a district and county council.

Rodney Bass in 2010, second from left, at the opening of Braintree recycling centre, with Cllr Terri Sargent, site supervisor Phil Stanley, and Cllr Tony SheltonRodney Bass in 2010, second from left, at the opening of Braintree recycling centre, with Cllr Terri Sargent, site supervisor Phil Stanley, and Cllr Tony Shelton

On retiring from the County Council in May 2017, Mr Bass was appointed to the position of Honorary Alderman.

He was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017.

Speaking on his retirement in October 2016, Mr Bass said his greatest successes were the opening of the new A130 and the dualled A120 stretch between Stansted Airport and Braintree, as well as the introduction of park and ride to Chelmsford.

The three words “Vision, courage, integrity” which form Maldon District Council’s coat of arms when it was created in 1973, a move overseen by Mr Bass’ father, were also Rodney Bass’ motto for life.

Mr Bass was the Provincial Grand Master of the Essex Freemasons. Last month, Mr Bass launched a county-wide fundraising effort among the county’s 300 Masonic Lodges to raise £120,000 for charities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Essex County Council chairman Cllr John Jowers said: “Rodney was a remarkable politician, public speaker, and above all, a champion for his community and Essex.

“He was a larger than life character in every sense and fiercely committed to his role. He will be greatly missed.”

Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “Rodney was a unique character and as a politician was a formidable presence, always determined to prevail, always certain of his position, his views on policy and how things should be run.

“I am sure the thoughts of all County Councillors who knew and worked with Rodney will be with his family at this time.”

Under Mr Bass’ leadership Essex Freemasons significantly increased their role within the community donating thousands of pounds to local charities and good causes and adding hundreds of new members.

Deputy Provincial Grand Master Paul Reeves said: “Rodney Bass was a great man and a pleasure to be with. He will be very much missed by our 9,000 members in Essex.

“Since he was appointed in 2015 he has transformed Freemasonry in Essex, instilling a spirit of openness and ensuring that our members worked to make a difference in their communities.

“In April last year he was diagnosed with lung cancer, but he did not allow it to slow-up his commitment to Essex and Essex Freemasonry, a commitment that was only cut short by the sudden deterioration of his condition.”


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