A St. Helier Deputy described as "one of the best" has been remembered for his smile and sense of humour in a series of moving tributes after passing away this week following a "courageous battle" with cancer.
Ministers, colleagues and friends have taken to social media to share their memories of Deputy Richard Rondel, who passed away on Wednesday night - seven years to the day after he was first elected to serve the island.
The well-known and much-loved St. Helier Deputy passed away in the Hospice this week aged 54.
Minister for Housing and Children Senator Sam Mézec described the St. Helier Deputy as “genuine, hardworking and compassionate” and “one of the best” in a post on Facebook.
Pictured: Deputy Richard Rondel was a dedicated States Member and family man.
Senator Mézec remembers Deputy Rondel’s dedication to his constituents and his role as a politician when he attended the debate on saving People’s Park despite being seriously ill at the time.
The Minister wrote: “The park was in his constituency and he cared deeply about the community around the park. He was incredibly ill at the time and turned up against the doctor’s orders. When his name was called at registration and he responded ‘present’, there was a thunderous round of approbation.”
Deputy Rondel was an active States Member. Since being elected in 2011, he was involved in the Public Accounts Committee, Planning Committee and served as an Assistant Minister in the Infrastructure Department. The Deputy remained dedicated to the end, even attending last week's States Assembly meeting.
Pictured: Deputy Richard Rondel and his three sons after they completed a 36-mile charity island walk on his behalf this summer. (Friends of Jersey Oncology)
Deputy Rondel’s memory was honoured at the Planning Committee Meeting yesterday with a minute’s silence and the Town Hall showed their respect by flying their flag at half-mast.
The States Assembly posted on social media saying “words cannot express how saddened we are to hear of the passing of our highly-respected colleague… Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this deeply upsetting time. Rest in peace, dear friend.”
Former Deputy Jackie Hilton, who was a long-time friend and colleague of Deputy Rondel, shared a few words with Express after his passing: “It was with great sorrow and sadness I heard of Richard’s passing today. Richard was one of those people you would meet once and never forget… He was a brilliant, dedicated district Deputy who always made time for his constituents and would move heaven and earth to solve any problems that were presented to him."
Pictured: Friends and colleagues of the St. Helier Deputy have honoured his memory as news spreads of his sad passing.
She added: “He was not only a colleague of mine, but a very dear personal friend also who always made himself available to me during difficult personal times despite fighting his own battle with this cruel disease with strength, determination and dignity."
Jackie described working alongside Deputy Rondel as “an honour and privilege” before offering her “sincere condolences” to his three sons and the rest of his family.
Staff from the Infrastructure Department, where Deputy Rondel used to work as Assistant Minister, remembered his “great sense of humour and… generous nature, which was well illustrated when he brought us in a sack of new potatoes." They explained that Deputy Rondel brought in a large sack of potatoes and invited staff to help themselves.
Pictured: Deputy Rondel at the opening of a new cycle track when he was Assistant Minister.
The Department added that he was a dedicated supporter of LibertyBus, who had helped to increase the number of bus shelters around the island.
Former Chief Minister Ian Gorst, under whose government Deputy Rondel served as Assistant Minister, praised the Deputy's "smile and can-do attitude", while current Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré said: “My thoughts, and those of my States Assembly colleagues, are with Richard’s family and friends today. Richard served the island as a States Member with a compassionate approach and a clear sense of duty. He will be much missed by us all.”
Yesterday evening, Deputy Rondel's son, Jack, shared a moving tribute "to the best father in the whole wide world and my best mate."
Pictured: Jack (left) paid tribute to his father in a moving social media post, calling him "the brightest angel."
"You saved so many lives, you were an excellent politician and listener, a great dad and so, so much more. No one can ever replace you or take you away from the top of my heart. You did everything for me, you were my rock. Now I do t know what I’ll do without you," he said, later thanking the hospital's Oncology Department and Jersey Hospice Care for their help.
Alongside his two brothers, Jack raised thousands over summer in a charity walk dedicated to his father. In a show of that fundraising spirit, he added: "My heart goes out to others experiencing the same disease and their families. I won’t stop fighting and fundraising for research into this awful disease."
Many more of those who knew Deputy Rondel have joined tributes, demonstrating that the father, politician and member of the island’s community will be sadly missed.
Bailiwick Express extends its sincere condolences to Deputy Rondel's friends and family.
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