AN HONORARY alderman and long-serving councillor has died aged 89.

Fred Blackwell served Banbury Borough Council and Cherwell District Council for 45 years and held a number of significant roles including chairman.

The former mechanic also worked for and owned a number of successful garages - including one in Banbury that became one of the most popular petrol stations in the country.

Mr Blackwell, who has been described as well known and well liked, died in the Horton General Hospital on Wednesday, December 13.

Mr Blackwell was born in Wolverhampton on September 9, 1928.

His father died when he was young and Mr Blackwell moved to Eynsham, in West Oxfordshire, where he was taken in by another family.

After a short education, he left school aged 14 and took work as a mechanic.

Later he signed up to the army for his national service and spent time in British Malaya as a driver.

When he returned to Britain, Mr Blackwell lived near Oxford and worked for Kings of Oxford motorbike sales and repair shop.

The job saw him form a friendship with motorcycling legend Mike Hailwood, whose father owned the business.

Mr Blackwell designed and hand-built some of the bikes Mr Hailwood rode in his early career.

He became workshop manager in the early 1950s, before the birth of his first son to his wife Barbara.

The couple, who met in a milk bar in the centre of Oxford, went on to have two children together, Tony and Denise.

In the 1960s the family moved from Eynsham to Banbury.

Mr Blackwell was involved with several garages as a mechanic and owned a couple - generally filling a management role.

One of the garages, doubling as a petrol station, was one of the most used refuelling points in the country.

In the final years of his professional career Mr Blackwell was an accountant - something he continued right up until his death.

Mr Blackwell joined Banbury Borough Council, before it was replaced by Cherwell District Council, around 45 years ago.

His commitment to the people of Cherwell was demonstrated by his service on a wide range of committees.

He chaired the estates, economy and development committee, the planning committee and the finance committee.

He served as Cherwell’s chairman for two years from 1981 to 1983.

The title of honorary Alderman was conferred on him on 18 July 2016 in recognition of his decades of dedication to the district.

An alderman is a co-opted member of an English county or borough council, next in status to the mayor.

When Mr Blackwell was not serving on a council committee he could often be found with one of his many social groups, which included Banbury Round Table, the Freemasons, and Banbury Charities.

Upon his death, the leader of Cherwell District Council Barry Wood issued a statement praising what Mr Blackwell achieved during his time on the council.

He said: “He will be remembered as an extremely hard-working councillor who fulfilled a wide range of duties on council committees, and for passionately representing the views of the communities he served.”

The flag at Bodicote House, the offices of Cherwell District Council, will fly at half mast in memory of Mr Blackwell until after his funeral.

A funeral will be held at Banbury Crematorium in Southam Road at 12pm on January 4.

He is survived by his two children.

Mr Blackwell's wife Barbara died in 2002.