Coin collector and former councillor Paul Munro-Walker

By Caitlin Marsh

Coin collector and former councillor Paul Munro-Walker

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FORMER Bournemouth councillor and coin dealer, Paul Munro-Walker, has died.

Paul attended Bournemouth School before winning a scholarship for Cambridge University where he achieved a master of arts degree.

He appeared in Daily Echo in December 1975 talking about how archaeological digs were being destroyed by 'Get rich quick' amateurs using simple metal detectors.

The coin dealer described in the piece that taking things from a dig without permission was like somebody going into an art gallery and slashing a painting. He said that most items picked up were of little financial value, but the information gleaned about a by-gone age was invaluable. He said at the time that he would like to see heavy penalties imposed on people stealing the treasure for their own gain.

He went on to say that people using metal detectors usually work alone or in pairs 'because like pirates, they would fight over the swag."

In January 1976, he was invited to stand as the candidate for the Kinson, Winton and Redhill Park Ratepayers' Association, which he said would leave him free of all party political affiliations. It was his first venture into local government. In April, he stood for the Kinson North ward seat of Bournemouth Council, however he was not elected.

The following year he described the demolition of the 100-year-old cemetery chapel spire in Wimborne Road in Bournemouth as an act of 'gratuitous vandalism.' The council's environmental services committee said that the 70ft steeple would need costly repairs.

In May 1983, he went on to win a seat for the Queen's Park ward. The following month, Conservative candidate, Brian Lassman, attempted to take legal action against councillors, Margaret Howarth, Cyril Dyer and Paul Munro-Walker, after alleging that they were guilty of corrupt or illegal practices in the election campaign after he came bottom of the poll. However, following an election court hearing in December 1983, this was thrown out as the commissioner, Mr Piers Ashworth QC, said that Mr Lassman offered no evidence in support of his complaint.

British Rail put forward a proposal in 1986 to demolish Bournemouth train station, which Paul spoke out against at the Bournemouth and District Civic Society meeting. He also said that he feared for the fire station in Holdenhurst Road, which has 'a super facade which must be preserved at all costs.' After election, his home was also filmed at one point for BBC TV series, Don't Wait Up, starring Tony Britton and Nigel Havers, which some nearby residents assumed was due to his new role.

In April 1987, he told Daily Echo that he was not standing for re-election before adding: "It was an interesting experiment but I have other things to do with my life."

Paul died on July 1.