THE man who was probably the last surviving political figure from Croydon's days as a county borough has died at the age of 91.
John Aston, who lived in Lloyd Park Avenue, Croydon, for more than 40 years, was first elected to the county borough council in 1952, representing the central ward and following his father Leonard into local politics.
He served two terms as deputy mayor in 1958 and 1960 before becoming mayor in 1962, when the highlight of his year was to preside over the opening of the Fairfield Halls by the Queen Mother.
In 1964 he added another string to his bow by being elected to the old Greater London Council, serving for two terms.
After Croydon became a London borough in 1964 he was chosen as one of the council's first aldermen – a non-elected post recognising political experience.
The role of aldermen was abolished in 1978 but Mr Aston kept up his unbroken service on the council by being elected as a councillor for the Fairfield ward, a seat he held until his retirement in 1994. In that time he served on major council committees, chairing the highways committee for a total of 13 years.
Lord Peter Bowness, who was leader of the council at the time of Mr Aston's retirement, said this week: "John was the last link with Croydon as it used to be when it was not part of London.
"He was a very significant figure and was always very active politically. He was a quiet, self-effacing man who did a lot of work without being noisy about it."
Present council leader, Mike Fisher, who served with Mr Aston from 1990 to 1994, said "He was very old-school and very shrewd."
A surveyor by profession, Mr Aston leaves a widow, Sylvia, a son, David, and two grandchildren, Rachel and James. A date for his funeral has not yet been finalised.