A DEDICATED councillor of more than four decades, Don Wallace died at Wimborne Care Home on Sunday, May 11, aged 95 and still serving his community in Wimborne.

During his 41 years in elected office he served on East Dorset District Council – including being appointed as chairman between 1995-96 – Dorset County Council and Colehill Parish Council.

Originally from Birmingham, Mr Wallace grew up there until the Second World War, when he fought in West Africa with the army. It was through the forces that he met his wife of 62 years Carol, but he was soon sent off to Burma for the final years of the conflict.

After peace and returning to the UK, Mr Wallce started working in personnel and welfare management for chemical firms in the Birmingham and Nottingham area. He loved running and joined the Birchfield Harriers, and he was a member of the Cyclists’ Touring Club.

He and his wife went touring for their honeymoon.

In the early 1960s Mr Wallace was made redundant and the family, now with son Paul, came to Dorset in 1961.

There he continued working in personnel management and training, and also as a lecturer at the Dorset Institute of Higher Education and later at Bournemouth University.

He was a governor of Queen Elizabeth School in Pamphill, a manager of Colehill County First School and a member of Wimborne Civic Society.

Mr Wallace once said he joined the Liberal Democrats for the social side of the group, not seeing much to choose between the different parties.

But it took more than 20 years of service on Conservative-controlled East Dorset council for him to finally be appointed as chairman following a crushing Lib Dem victory in the 1995 local elections.

At one point in the early 1980s he had been the only Lib Dem on the council.

On his appointment as chairman he told the Daily Echo: “Coming down here 32 years ago from the Midlands, I was very appreciative of trees and blades of grass. I’m a keen supporter of the green belt.”

For many years the chairman of the planning committee, Mr Wallace was dedicated to preserving the green belt and ensuring buildings within were properly looked after – as when the Cistercian nuns at Holy Cross Abbey in Stapehill were planning to move, and he was concerned for the historic building’s future.

Throughout his career as a councillor he sought to uncover corruption at all levels of local government.

During the 1990s he regularly called for better funding for the police, and more police officers on the beat, and even into his own 90s Mr Wallace continued to work on behalf of residents, calling for more affordable housing for Wimborne residents.

His wife Carol died in 2011 after 62 years of marriage, and Mr Wallace never fully got over the loss.

They had especially enjoyed ballroom dancing in their later years, and after her death he became more closely involved with Wimborne Rotary Club and the Royal British Legion.

The couple had four grandchildren – Eve, Laura, Tom and Lewis.

Mr Wallace, who spent the last few months before his death at Wimborne Care Home, was described as a “real gentleman” who was “kind and interested in people” by friends.

A funeral service will be held at St John's church, Wimborne, at 2.30pm on Tuesday, May 27, followed by a private cremation.