By Mitchell Clarke
Pakenham stalwart Peter Wigney is being remembered as a strong believer in social justice.
The community is mourning his passing, with a number of personalities paying tribute to the Labor life member who was instrumental in starting the Pakenham Labor branch.
Member for Bass electorate Jordan Crugnale paid a fitting tribute to the man who played an integral role in her political campaign.
“We mourn our beautiful, jovial, wise old activist, Labor Party Life Member and Pakenham branch founder, Peter Wigney,” Ms Crugnale said.
“Peter and his wife, Lola, have been so generous and kind to me – one such act was making sure I had somewhere to sleep in Pakenham during the year-long Bass campaign.”
Remembered as an iconic Lakeside couple, Ms Crugnale has suggested that should a public art piece be considered for the area, a bronze statue of Peter and Lola should be considered.
Close family friend and former Labor candidate Simon Curtis said his long-time friend would leave a lasting legacy.
“Peter was always an active Life-Member and passionate activist for the Labor Party in the Pakenham area,” Mr Curtis said.
“Peter and Lola have been an amazing support to everyone who has stood as a candidate for the Labor Party in the Pakenham area, always going above and beyond.”
He recalls many instances at polling booths where Peter would affectionately hand thousands of people a how-to-vote card, politely encouraging them to “vote our way”.
“Peter’s sense of fairness and justice will never be forgotten; he leaves a lasting legacy,” he said.
Cardinia Shire councillor Collin Ross said Mr Wigney will be sorely missed.
“Peter was the first person to help when we were trying to re-build the Labor Party branch in Pakenham,” Mr Ross said.
“He was someone who got heavily involved with every campaign we have run at a State and Federal level.”
Close friend Sue Preston said Mr Wigney would speak out whenever perceived a wrong, but never in a strident way.
“His voice was always clear and firm and kind,” Ms Preston said.
“Kindness epitomised Peter. He cherished the land and the house he built at Pakenham Upper and he loved his family.
“Dozens of local people found a friend in Peter and will miss his good counsel, charm and wit greatly. I was lucky to have him as a friend for nearly 50 years.”
Peter Wigney leaves behind his beloved wife Lola and his children Aimo and Rebecca. He was 83 years old.