Mourners packed Wisbech’s St Peter and St Paul’s Church today for the funeral of one of Fenland’s great champions and genuine gentleman Malcolm (Mac) Cotterell, MBE.
Fenland district, town and county councillors joined the almost packed congregation to bid a sad farewell to Mac, who has served the area and its community for over 50 years.
Mac’s wife of 55 years Marjorie (Madge) led the mourners and heard tributes from Fenland Council leader Alan Melton, Richard Barnwell former Wisbech Mayor and current Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, and Lesley Mardle a life-long friend.
Mr Melton opened his tribute by stating: “Mac my friend, my mentor, my big brother a very special person.”
He spoke of his many years of working in local government alongside Mac and said: “He had great perception of people and events, above all he was a man who had great integrity who never deviated from the path he set out. He never had a bad word for anyone.”
And he said Mac always looked on the bright side of life, and always lived by the edict of treating others as he would like to be treated.
Mr Barnwell said there were mixed feelings amongst those at the service.
“On the one hand there is a feeling of sorrow and grief because one we loved and admired has sadly passed away, on the other hand there is knowledge Mac lived life well and honestly in the service of our town and district.”
Adding: “Our hearts go out to Madge today in her great loss.”
Lesley Mardle, a former headteacher who had known Mac since she was a young teenager when he worked alongside her father on the Fenland Advertiser (the forerunner to this paper), paid tribute to the man she said had showed patience and understanding and had given her great support and encouragement over the years.
Mrs Mardle also read a poem chosen by Madge.
Father Paul West, who led the service, said: “Wisbech and Fenland has lost an exceptional man. I saw Mac as a local statesman.”
He said after hearing of Mac’s death he wanted to go to the local primary school and tell the children about Mac and that he would like them to be like Mac.
“He was a rare human being. He was above politics and was simply a servant of the people, a servant of the local community. He was a rare and special man,” said Father Paul.
The service, which included three hymns and a eulogy read by Father Paul, was followed by cremation at Mintlynn crematorium at King’s Lynn.