22 Jul 2020
In Memoriam – Alex Ward

Alex Ward was elected in May 2019 to Ashford Borough Council in Kent. This was the successful culmination of six years campaigning on local issues in the Borough. He first stood for the Council in 2015 as the Labour candidate in Bybrook Ward in a closely fought contest with his Conservative opponent. He was then selected by Ashford Labour Party for Beaver Ward in last year’s local elections. This time Alex won, fulfilling his strongly held commitment to public service and became a member of the Council’s Joint Transportation Board. His lifelong engagement in politics began almost from birth. When he was born in 1989, his father David Ward worked as an adviser to the late Rt Hon John Smith MP and his mother Emma MacLennan in the Labour Party’s Policy Directorate.

His family moved from London to High Halden, near Tenterden, in 1996. Alex went to Lynden Grove Primary School in Ashford, Bethany School in Curtisden Green, and then Canterbury Christ Church University where he graduated in Multimedia Journalism. Maintaining his interest in politics Alex also served as an intern for a Labour Member of Parliament and for a Republican US Senator. In his professional life Alex worked on international road safety issues. For the Towards Zero Foundation he participated in meetings of the United Nations Global Forum for Traffic Safety in Geneva and recently helped to co-ordinate the ‘#50by30’ campaign to set a global target to halve road deaths by 2030. The campaign succeeded in February this year when the #50by30 target was adopted by the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety held in Stockholm Sweden.

Unfortunately, Alex was unable to participate in the Stockholm conference as in June 2019 he began to experience difficulties walking and these gradually worsened over the remainder of the year. After two periods of investigation at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, in February Alex was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. This cruel terminal condition causes severe disability and speech loss. Despite his chronic illness Alex remained an active Councillor, participating in virtual meetings during the COVID 19 lockdown. In March he was thrilled to become an uncle when his sister Katerina gave birth to a son Luca. On July 6th (in the first wedding held in the Ashford area since the COVID 19 outbreak) Alex married his long-term partner of ten years Elizabeth who is from the island of Crete in Greece. Alex’s mother is half Greek, also from Crete. A Greek speaker Alex and all his family have a deep affection for the island and spent many memorable holidays there.

Alexander Samuel Robert Ward passed away peacefully on Wednesday 22nd July at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and will be sorely missed by his family and many friends. Those wishing to celebrate his life are asked to make a donation to the Mid Kent MND Association Special Appeal at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mid-kent-branch-emergency-appeal.