Family tribute to Luton community stalwart Bill Powers MBE

'He was genuinely a good guy, he touched everyone he knew'

By Lynn Hughes
Monday, 17th January 2022, 4:48 pm
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 4:58 pm

The family of a man committed to helping others in Luton, have paid tribute to him on the eve of his funeral.

Bill Powers died on Christmas Day at the age of 97.

"He was a man who commanded so much respect," said son-in-law Nick Rust.

Bill and Janet Powers

"He was genuinely a good guy, he touched everyone he knew."

Bill was born and raised in Luton. During the Second World War he was part of the 9th commando unit serving in Italy before serving with the mounted police in Palestine.

In 1965 he became the director and dealer principal of Shaw and Kilburn, building it up to be one of the largest Vauxhall dealerships in Europe with around 300 employees.

He also gave business management lectures to students at St Katherine's College, Cambridge.

Bill Powers as High Sheriff of Bedfordshire

From the 1970s he played a huge role in the social, cultural life of the area, becoming President of the Luton Royal British Legion, chairman of the USA base at Chicksands, President of Dunstable Operatic Society, High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, deputy Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, chairman of the South Bedfordshire Community Healthcare Trust, and organiser of the prestigious Luton Pageant.

He was also a member of the Round Table, Freemasons and Rotary Club and in the 1990s was awarded an MBE for his charity work. He was also deputy chairman of Luton Magistrates and President of the Luton Vauxhall Male Choir, whose members will be singing at his funeral tomorrow.

Formally known as Major William Powers, MBE JP and DL, but just Bill to his family and friends, he was also a family man. His wife Janet died in January last year and the couple have two daughters, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

He loved military band music and one of his main projects was the annual military pageant in aid of the Royal British Legion which in later years was held at Luton Town FC at Kenilworth Road.

His funeral takes place at 10.30am on Tuesday, January 18, at St James Church in Silsoe.

Donations in his memory, for Help For Heroes, can also be given here.

Do you have memories of Bill? Send an email to [email protected]