THE wife of Sir John Butterfill has paid tribute to the “hardworking” and “caring” former Bournemouth West MP.

Sir John died aged 80 on the morning of Sunday, November 7, after a six-year battle with dementia.

Born on February 14, 1941, Sir John was raised as an only child in Kingston upon Thames in Surrey.

His widow Pamela Ross-Symons (pictured with Sir John) said: “He was a very clever boy and earned a scholarship to a public school called Caterham School, and the College of Estate Management in London.

“He was a very successful charter surveyor which was what he started out doing.

“He was very academic but wasn’t very inclined to do that as a full-time career.”

In 1962 he began working as a valuer with Jones Laing Wootton, before becoming a senior executive with the Hammerson Group in 1964.

However, he took the decision to start his political career the same decade.

Having initially contested London South East Inner at the European Parliamentary in 1979, he was subsequently chosen to contest the seat of Bournemouth West following the retirement of the veteran MP John Eden, and he won at the 1983 general election.

“He was always very politically interested,” said Pamela.

“When I met him back in the early 1960s, he wanted to get into politics.

“He was wise to make himself financially stable before going into politics because it is an expensive thing to do.”

Sir John quickly established himself as the go-to man for anything to do with pensions, and was instrumental in passing a number of bills through Parliament as a backbencher.

He was instrumental in processing the Daylight Extra Bill and the Building Societies (Funding) and Mutual Societies (Transfers) Act 2007 – which is nicknamed the Butterfill Bill.

However, away from his public responsibilities as an MP, Pam said her husband was a “very kind and very genuine” person who loved his family.

“He adored his kids and his whole family,” she said. “Having been an only child, he hadn’t been part of a big family, so he wanted one himself.

“One thing that frustrated him when he was a MP was that he hardly ever went to carol concerts, our children’s plays when they were younger or any sporting events because he was always tied up with something.

“The youngest of his grandchildren was recently named Johnny Butterfill. John would have loved to have known that, but he never got the opportunity to meet him.”

An avid reader, bridge player and sports fan, Sir John was also a big lover of animals and spoke six languages including Danish, Spanish and French.

Shortly after he announced his retirement from politics, he suffered a stroke at the end of January 2010.

“We celebrated our golden wedding anniversary on October 2, 2015, and had a lovely event for it,” said Pam. “However, four days later, he had collapsed and was put in a care home and never came back home.

“For the last three years, he didn’t even know who I was – it was absolutely shocking.

“He was at BrendanCare home. The staff there were so good to him and were always lovely to me when I came and visited.”

Sir John leaves behind his wife Pamela, three daughters and a son. “John loved Bournemouth and did a lot to try and change its image for the better. It was the nature of Bournemouth in the 1990s that there were a lot of care homes, and the population was quite elderly. He did a lot to try and reinvigorate the town.”