A message from Karen Whelan, Chief Executive
I am sure like me over the last 24 hours, most of you have been thinking of nothing else but the shock of the news about Kevin. What can you say about a genuine and dedicated officer of the Council that has not already been said by many of you these last couple of days.
On 3 April 2017, we were all shocked by the news of hearing that our very dear Kevin Cantlon, had died suddenly at home. When I looked at his personnel file later that day, I noticed that he started permanently with the Council on 3 April of 1989. Exactly 28 years to the day. Before that he worked under a temporary contract with us for nearly a year, making 29 years in total.
He was one of those gentle, quiet, jovial and sensitive beings who always had time for people, always had a jolly persona and loved life, especially when life involved talking about the love of his life, Natalie. They were inseparable. His cheeky comments about her always made you smile and he could never hide how lucky he felt he was to have such a lovely partner in his life.
As a colleague and officer, he was truly dedicated to his role as Economic Development Officer for the Council. His ability to forge effective business relationships with people meant he got things done. I remember my wish, when I started as CEO, was to have an “open for business” approach to our services to business and Kevin embraced the challenge of setting this up for me with such passion and enthusiasm that his voice would almost sing when he spoke about it. It was a joy to watch. Open for Business became his project and his passion and he played it so well. What has been noticeable this week is all the amazing letters and notes from businesses who grew to know Kevin as a friend when doing business with us. All could not speak highly enough about an amazing person.
What I know about Kevin is that he always had time to talk to you about how you were, always asked after David my son, and made you feel very special. In fact he became a real confidante to me over the years, since my husband died, because he would always remember an anniversary and want to talk to you about him to let you know he and Natalie were thinking of you. He was somebody you could trust with anything and I will always be grateful for his dedication to that trust.
Just a week ago, he was at the Business Breakfast Judging Panel, assisting me and my fellow judges decide on the business award winners. The amount of homework he must have done on each of the companies to advise us on the strength of the applications. He struggled at times to hide his enthusiasm for his favourites of course and we ribbed him a little at the event by saying….”gosh Kevin with 15 applicants for this category, who is your one, two and three here then” He would cheekily reply.. “well…here’s one I prepared earlier, now you mention it” to which we all laughed. I also remember him being very partial to the lovely cake that day! His work on bringing forward interesting business deals with Fraser Nash, Stihl, Matalan, Yorktown and Watchmoor Business Association and help setting up the Frimley Business Association, the list is endless, were all down to his tenacity for the role and eagerness to land a deal.
Kevin always cared about others and I know over the years was very attuned to when work colleagues were down and unhappy. He would often give me the nod if I needed to have a motivational chat with a colleague or check up on their welfare. Such was his nature, he never liked people to be unhappy for long.