John Bond, Woking Borough Council’s first Independent councillor, died on Easter Monday after a short illness. He was 76.

He pioneered the Independent movement in Woking at a time when being an Independent was relatively unheard of in politics and he became the first Independent councillor in Woking in 2014.

John soon persuaded Mary Bridgeman and Amanda Boote to join him and the three were delighted when “the Byfleet Bs” were all elected on 5 May 2016. Indeed, John was heard to say, “There is a different light over Byfleet and West Byfleet tonight”.

He was an Independent councillor for seven years until deciding not to stand in 2021.

Paying tribute to John, Ms Boote said: “John was the only councillor in Woking who flagged the risks associated with Woking Borough Council's town centre redevelopment as long ago as 2016. Sadly, his worries have been spectacularly borne out with the council having to issue a Section 114 last year, effectively an admission of bankruptcy. He was never afraid to fight for what he believed in.”

John revisited his fears about Woking’s finances in the News & Mail last autumn.

Ms Boote added: “He set up the Byfleet Neighbourhood Forum and started the journey with our village Neighbourhood Plan, as well as setting up the Byfleet Flood Forum [with Amanda] in 2013. He was always there for the residents of the village and nothing was too much trouble.

“His kind and caring nature and words of wisdom will be greatly missed by us all but we will continue to build on his legacy. Our thought’s are with John’s family at this incredibly sad time.”

John leaves his wife, Jane, daughters Heather and Alison, son-in-law Paul and grandson Max.

John Edwin Bond, 17 November 1947 – 1 April 2024.