A FORMER mayor of Armidale honoured with the ceremonial keys to the city as a mark of respect for his extensive civic and community service has died, one day after his 90th birthday.
Lloyd Piddington, whose family funeral director’s business has operated in Armidale for more than 113 years, will be farewellled at a funeral at St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral on Friday.
His long-serving and selfless service to his community was acknowledged yesterday by Armidale mayor Jim Maher, who described Mr Piddington as a man of vision and community action.
Lloyd St Clair Piddington was born on October 26, 1922 and passed away on Saturday, aged 90.
Mr Piddington served as an alderman of Armidale City Council from 1957 to 1972 and was mayor from 1963 to 1968.
Cr Maher said that for his distinguished contribution and meritorious service to the Armidale Dumaresq community, Mr Piddington was conferred the honour of Freeman of the City of Armidale in 2004.
“During his time as mayor, Lloyd oversaw the building of Malpas Dam, one of our great assets,” Cr Maher said yesterday.
“He showed vision in pursuing this project.”
He is survived by his widow, June, and five children – Allan, Janet, Graham, Margaret and Ron.
Following his father Harley William “Bill” Piddington’s passing in 1954, he took over the running of the family funeral business with his late brother, Max.
After Max retired in 1973, Lloyd continued with his sons until he suffered numerous strokes in 1996.
He was the third generation to run the family funeral business, which has operated continuously since 1899.
A celebration of Lloyd’s life as a dedicated family man and his service to his community will be held on Friday at 11am in St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral, to be followed by cremation at Piddingtons, his family’s funeral home and crematorium.
As a former mayor of Armidale City Council, from 1963-68, Lloyd was responsible for the casting vote that made the cathedral city’s water supply what it is today.
He was an alderman of the council from 1957-71 and a member of the executive of the Local Government Association from 1968-71.
In May 1965 came a change of state government and the appointment of the member for Armidale, Davis Hughes, as the minister for public works.
Almost overnight, all of the obstacles in respect to the construction of the Malpas Dam scheme were swept away.
Malpas Dam, near Guyra, was opened in November 1968, with credit given to Davis Hughes and Alderman Lloyd Piddington.
A 22-mile pipeline was laid to connect the dam to the filtration plant in Armidale. Additional filtration and reticulation works were also built.
The total cost of the works was estimated in 1968 at $3.9 million, of which Armidale ratepayers would have to pay half.
By 1971, Armidale had its new water supply and, through the droughts of decades since, residents have not faced water restrictions.
Civic involvement and leadership was in Lloyd’s blood.
He was the grandson of the late George William Piddington, who retired from the council a few years before World War II.
Born in Armidale, he attended Armidale High School. Following the outbreak of the war, he was mobilised into the 12th Australian Light Horse, transferred into the 12th Motor Regiment and later served with the 3rd Armoured Division.
He served in the Australian Army for three years and was discharged in 1944 on occupational grounds.
Lloyd joined the Armidale Chamber of Commerce in 1945. He was the foundation secretary in 1949 of the organisation, which eventually became the Armidale Ex-Services Club.
In 1943 he joined the Masonic Lodge Armidale and the Grand Lodge rank was conferred on him in 1975.
He was a life member of the Armidale and New England Caged Bird Club; president of the Armidale High School Parents’ and Citizens’ Association; president of the Road Safety Council; and a member of the Armidale Apex and the Lions clubs.
He was a passionate sportsman in his younger days, playing rugby league at local level for the Galloping Greens.
Since 1940, he had been a very active member of the Australian Funeral Directors’
Association, serving as state president and holding other executive positions.
He and his widow, June, were presented with life membership of the Armidale City Band in August 2009.
Records show the Piddington family has been associated with the Armidale City Band since February 12, 1926.
Lloyd’s father was on the band’s committee in 1938 and played a leading role in keeping the band going through World War II.
Lloyd and his brother, Max, were in the band at this time, though they had not yet reached their teenage years.
In 1960, Lloyd was appointed as one of the band’s trustees.
Lloyd’s election as band patron on August 20, 1968, saw him replace then-local MP Davis Hughes.
Lloyd was honoured with the Australian government’s Centenary Medal. He was also presented with the title of emeritus mayor and Freeman of the City of Armidale by Armidale Dumaresq Council.