Tributes have been paid to a "popular and good-humoured" former St. Helier Deputy after he sadly passed away.
John Benjamin Fox, known as Ben Fox, was first elected to the States Chamber as Deputy of St. Helier Number 3 on 9 December 1999.
Born in Middlesex, he joined the States of Jersey Police upon his arrival to the island. He moved through the ranks to become a Detective and Sergeant, before retiring from the force and becoming a Director of Jersey Mutual Insurance Society.
Mr Fox served four terms in the States Assembly, having been re-elected in 2002, 2005 and 2008.
Pictured: Mr Fox was first elected to the States Chamber as Deputy of St. Helier Number 3 on 9 December 1999.
In a speech delivered earlier this week in the States Assembly, the Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, described Mr Fox as an “active” member.
Mr Fox joined the Education, Overseas Aid and Planning and Environment committees in 1999, remaining on the latter until 2003.
He was involved with Education through most of his time in the Assembly, serving on the Education, then the Education, Sport and Culture, committee until the end of the committee system in 2005.
He was then appointed Assistant Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, under the first Education Minister, Mike Vibert, with special responsibility for the Youth Service. Mr Fox was also instrumental in the creation of the skate park in St. Helier.
Pictured: Mr Fox was instrumental in the creation of the skate park in St. Helier.
“He was extremely supportive of the service and of young people,” the Bailiff said.
Mr Fox joined the Privilege and Procedures committee in 2008, later becoming Vice Chairman.
He was a “keen supporter” of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and attended a number of visits, including to the Falklands in 2004, where the Bailiff said he forged “strong friendships”, and St. Helena with which he kept in regular contact for the remainder of his life.
The former St. Helier Deputy was also a vocal campaigner for the return of police motorbikes, which he achieved in 2011.
Pictured: Mr Fox at the Isle of Man at a CPA Conference in 2010.
His policing background came up frequently in the Assembly, as the Bailiff recalled.
“He was renowned for referring to his previous career in speeches, which became its catchphrase in the Assembly, and it seemed like he would try to work it into every speech no matter how tangential to policing matters.”
“He was a popular and good-humoured member who made regular contribution to the work of the community,” the Bailiff went on to say.
“He retired in 2011 and enjoyed his retirement with his wife Lizzie until his recent illness. Our thoughts go to his family and friends.”
States Members then joined the Bailiff in a minute of silence in memory of Mr Fox.
Pictured: Mr Fox was known for referring to his police career in the Assembly.
Former St. Helier Deputy, Jackie Hilton, has also paid tribute to her ex-colleague.
“It was an honour and privilege for me to have served alongside Ben between 2002 and 2011 when we both represented St. Helier No. 3/4 districts,” she said.
“I first became acquainted with Ben when he was a newly elected Deputy in St. Helier and I was a newly elected Centenier.”
“We had much in common not least a shared interest in law and order,” she added. “With Ben’s experience in crime prevention, he was able to share his extensive knowledge on crime-proofing new developments at the planning applications stage with which he was involved.”
Mrs Hilton remembers the former Deputy as loving “all things educational and providing young people with every opportunity to reach their full potential”.
Pictured: Deputy Fox was on the Planning committee from 1999 to 2003.
She said that, in addition to his work as Assistant Minister for Education, he was heavily involved in the Youth Service and chairing the St. Helier Youth Committee, “ably supported by his wife Lizzie and others with a similar outlook to himself”.
She also reminded Mr Fox had paved the way for the location of a new incinerator which had “blighted” the lives of First Tower residents for decades.
“Ben was a thoroughly decent human being with a big heart,” Mrs Hilton added.
“He served his constituents for 12 years with enthusiasm, compassion and understanding.
“To me, Ben was a good friend and colleague. When asked, Ben could always be relied upon for good, sound, logical advice. I shall miss him very much, rest in peace my dear friend.
“I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to Lizzie, family and friends.”
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