Family in shock as self-titled ‘Mr Banbury’ Brian Little dies

Brian Little
Brian Little

The family of Brian Little, who liked to call himself ‘Mr Banbury’ for all the different things he was involved in, have been left in shock after his unexpected death at the age of 82.

The former teacher at Banbury and Bicester College went into hospital on Wednesday (March 27) for a minor procedure but died on Saturday morning after complications.

Margaret Little from Banbury, remembering the life of her husband, Brian Little. NNL-190204-122308009

Margaret Little from Banbury, remembering the life of her husband, Brian Little. NNL-190204-122308009

His widow Margaret described the long-time nostalgia columnist in the Banbury Guardian as a family man who was well known in the town.

“You could never go anywhere where you wouldn’t be stopped by somebody – going to Sainsbury’s was a nightmare as someone always wanted to talk about one of his articles,” she said.

Margaret told the BG that Brian had gone to the doctors on Wednesday who found he had a blocked stoma, which he has had since having bowel cancer ten years ago.

He was taken to the John Racliffe Hospital by ambulance for the relatively normal procedure but he deteriorated while he was there, going into intensive care before passing away.

Margaret said: “Everybody I know is in complete shock as it was so unexpected.”

Brian moved to Banbury to work at the college, then called Banbury Tech, in 1961, going from geography teacher to head of department before retiring in 1994.

He married Margaret in March, 1962, whom he met at the University of Nottingham – he read geography and economic history while she read history.

“He was a huge believer in giving people second chances, that was very, very important to him,” Margaret said.

She said Brian chose to teach at a technological college as he felt people who failed the 11 plus, as he did, were ‘left behind’, so he wanted to support them.

Brian had his fingers in many pies to put it mildly – he was a borough councillor for four years in the 1970s, he was a warden at St Hugh’s Church for 20 years, and was chairman of Banbury Historical Society.

It was as chairman in December, 1995, that the then editor of the paper asked him to do three articles on Banbury history in the run-up to Christmas.

They proved so popular that Brian was asked to do a weekly nostalgia column, which he was still doing up to his death – it will still be in Thursday’s paper.

He wrote six books, mostly on Banbury history, and regularly gave talks on various subjects as well as teaching banking.

Brian was a passionate sports fan, supporting Hampshire County Cricket Club and Southampton Football Club predominantly.

He loved his dogs, architecture, transport, history and his family, but was a complete technophobe, with Margaret having to sort out his emails.

His daughter Caroline said: “He called himself Mr Banbury as he was involved with so many things in the town.”

Brian leaves wife Margaret, his daughters Caroline and Alexandra, and two grandchildren Natalie and Philip.

A memorial service will be held at St Hugh’s at 2pm on Wednesday, April 17.