Hundreds are expected to flock to Winton on Monday to farewell the shire’s much-loved mayor, Graham “Butch” Lenton.
Butch lost his battle with cancer on Sunday, news that has saddened many, who have hailed him as a true leader and champion of his community.
According to a notice shared by Butch’s daughter, Carly Cox, on social media on Tuesday night, anyone who has their own special story to tell about Butch will be given the opportunity at his funeral, which will begin at 10am on Monday, October 9.
To be held at the Winton Shire Hall, people are invited to arrive at 9.30am, at Butch’s request, to listen to some of his favourite music.
Intending contributors are urged to stay true to Butch’s love of “short and sweet” speeches.
Among those adding to the respect the long-term councillor and mayor was held in is federal Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, who said Butch was one of the best outback leaders he’d ever met, “an inspirational force, committed to rural Queensland.”
“He was a real pioneer and brought out the best of people, even through great adversity,” David said. “Butch was a leader by example and his skills, positivity and hard work are all qualities I aspire to.”
Fellow mayor, Longreach’s Ed Warren, said Butch would be profoundly missed.
“Butch and I worked alongside each other for a long time as councillors, and then as mayors.
“It’s hard to find the words to describe the impact he has made not only in Winton, but in all of western Queensland.”
He said they would be keeping their colleagues at the Winton Shire Council in their thoughts as they negotiate the difficult time ahead.
Winton’s council CEO, Allan Rayment, described Butch as “Winton to his core”, having been born, educated, worked and served the community his whole life.
“A kind and passionate man, Butch was a leader who was positive and assessed all opinions in a consistent manner,” Mr Rayment said. “Butch epitomised true mateship and leadership in everything he did.”