Goodbye "Mr Chorley" as stalwart councillor is laid to rest

A town paid its respects to a veteran councillor whose funeral took place this afternoon.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 5:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 6:09 pm
The coffin is led into the church

Former mayor Ralph Snape MBE was dubbed a “Mr Chorley” - a dedicated public servant who worked tirelessly for the folk he served.

Mourners gathered at Chorley Parish Church of St Laurence to say farewell to Ralph, 90, and hear a number of touching tributes paid to him.

They included one from Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.

The coffin is led into the church

Mr Hoyle said of the stalwart councillor: “It’s very easy to say Mr Chorley, but in Ralph’s case it’s just so true.”

He also said: “Ralph’s knowledge of his ward and residents was like an A to Z of Chorley.

“He was there for the elderly people - he was there for everyone.

“He was a great campaigner. He was always so popular.”

The procession makes its way down St Thomas's Road

Ralph, an elected member of the council since 1976 until present day, sat as an independent alongside wife Joyce, a fellow councillor in Chorley North West since 1998.

In the 2010 local elections, Ralph walked away with the largest majority of any councillor in Lancashire with 2,579 votes more than his closest political rival.

Mr Hoyle added: “With Joyce, what a great tag team they were.

“He worked tirelessly on the council, he never gave up.”

RBL standard bearers head the procession

In a tribute, Ralph’s son Steven said: “He was, if nothing else, a servant to civic duty, giving “time and attention to every individual who came to him with a problem”.

He added that “thousands benefited” from his father’s help, and that he had improved Chorley “which he loved so much”.

Speaking at the service, Father Neil Kelley, Rector of St Laurence’s and chaplain to the Mayor of Chorley, said: “Ralph was proud to serve as a local councillor and very proud to be mayor of the town he loved. He always put people before people before politics.

“Ralph Snape was the genuine article. What you saw was what you got. Hardworking, honest, caring and a gentleman. People from all political persuasions, and none, have benefitted from his selfless service. Our town is the poorer for his passing. But we pray that he may rest in peace.”

Mourners, including Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle, gather

Ralph was born in Heapey and became a carpenter, serving his time on barges on the nearby Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

He served his National Service in the RAF in Lincolnshire and was part of the Berlin Airlift.

He was president of the Air Cadets in Chorley and a school governor.

He was a proud supporter of Blackburn Rovers.

Folk lined the streets as a procession, which included fellow councillors, friends and family, set off from St Thomas’s Square next to Chorley Town Hall to the church for the service.

Two Royal British Legion standard bearers walked behind the coffin as it was led into the church, as The Dam Busters March entrance music played.”

Folk line the streets to pay their respects

After the service, Ralph’s coffin was led out of the church to the song “I did it my way”.

Cremation followed at Pleasington Cemetery in Blackburn.

*There was drama at one point when an elderly mourner fell ill during the service and was treated by paramedics.He was led away by stretcher to a waiting ambulance.