Councillor Tom Burns, cabinet member for leisure and culture, has died.Advertisement
He represented the Fishwick ward since 2010, winning election for Labour in the May of that year.
Mr Burns died on Wednesday.
Council leader Peter Rankin has paid a touching tribute to Councillor Burns.
He said: “It is with great sadness and in a state of shock that I regret to announce the sudden death on Wednesday of a close friend and colleague, Tom Burns. This is devastating and totally unexpected news.
“Tom had been a Preston City Councillor since 2010, representing Fishwick Ward and was Cabinet Member for Advice Services, Culture and Leisure, which included the leisure centres, the Guild Hall and the Harris Museum. He was a great champion for those services. Despite being ill for some time Tom had never let this prevent him carrying out his council duties or any of his political activities. He could have taken life a little easier but that would not have been like Tom.
“Tom attended a Labour Councillors meeting on Tuesday evening where we were discussing important issues relating to his responsibilities. As always he was extremely supportive of those services that he had responsibility for and, as always, he made a strong case for their protection at a time of great financial challenge. My great regret is that I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to Tom at the end of the meeting before he left for home.
“Born in Birkenhead with Irish ancestry, Tom was a caring, passionate socialist with a deep commitment to the people of his ward and the people of Preston. His contribution to the Labour Party in Preston over the years has been immeasurable. Over the past few years he has hated what central government has been doing and campaigned hard against policies that adversely affected the poor and vulnerable.
“Tom was a fighter, refusing to take life easy even though he was very ill. He was a kind man always considerate to other people and well liked by all Councillors whatever their political colour and by staff at the Town Hall.
“I would like to pass on our sympathy to Tom’s wife Pauline and all in his family circle from all at Preston City Council at this very sad time. We will all miss Tom.”
Councillors have been paying their respects on Twitter:
Saddened to hear Cllr Tom Burns passed away today. Preston has lost an excellent Councillor and public servant.
— Mark Jewell (@mgjewellLD) January 8, 2014
Just had some awful news about a labour comrade on the council RIP Tom a great loss to the city my thoughts are with your family 🙁
— Cllr Drew Gale (@bigvaldrewski) January 8, 2014
Another councillor, James Hull, took to Facebook to describe Burns as a “lion who stood firm for those he represented so well.”
He wrote: “I am very sad to hear the news that my friend and colleague, Cllr Tom Burns – Preston City Council Cabinet Member for Advice Services, Culture and Leisure – sadly passed away last night. Tom worked tirelessly for Arts and Culture in Preston and was instrumental in maintaining the services we have for the people of Preston. We have lost a lion who stood firm for those he represented so very well. God bless Tom and his family at this difficult time.”
Leave your tributes to Councillor Burns in the comments below