A stone memorial has been placed at Alma House in Aldershot, in memory of Jim White
A memorial bearing the catchphrase of a popular former mayor of Rushmoor has been unveiled at the Aldershot home where he spent his final years.
A ceremony in honour of Jim White was held at Alma House supported accommodation on August 29 and a memorial stone was placed in the garden as a reminder of his contribution to the town and borough.
Engraved on the stone is the phrase ‘It’s only me’ – a tribute to how he started every telephone call with that introduction.
The ceremony was attended by Mr White’s family members, his close friend Councillor Keith Dibble, and residents of Alma House and First Wessex staff.
Known as Mr Aldershot, Mr White was mayor of Rushmoor in 2000-01 and served as a councillor for a total of 21 years – first on Aldershot Borough Council and then on Rushmoor Borough Council when the borough was created in 1973. He was also a magistrate for many years.
He died in Frimley Park Hospital in 2011 after a short illness, having spent the final four years of his life at the original Alma House.
The First Wessex-owned property in White Road, named after Mr White, was reopened last year following a complete rebuild.
At the ceremony, planned by Mr White’s family, his son Ian gave a short speech about his father’s life before unveiling the memorial. He said he had enjoyed the fact the Alma House residents had been able to be involved in the ceremony.
“They were quite happy and put on a nice little spread for everyone,” he said. “The stone was placed right opposite the communal room.”
Father Keith Hodges, of St Augustine’s Church in Aldershot, read a poem before Cllr Dibble paid his respects with a short speech of his own.
Cllr Dibble was elected in 1984, when Mr White was a councillor, and described the former mayor as a father figure.
Mr White was godfather to one of Cllr Dibble’s children and the North Town councillor was best man at the ex-mayor’s second wedding.
“It was a wonderful, happy event and the memorial stone is a fitting tribute to our dear friend,” said Cllr Dibble. “My speech was quite good-humoured.
“He called himself a working class man but he was a giant figure. He was a mentor for me when I was elected. He was almost like a second father.”
The drummer boy statue in Aldershot’s Wellington Centre was placed there to fulfil Mr White’s dying wish to see it refurbished and displayed in public once again. However, the statue’s future remains uncertain after it was removed in early July before being returned on a temporary basis a few days later.
Ian White said he had heard no more about the statue since a phone call around five weeks ago from the shopping centre management team, but remained hopeful it would remain where it is.