Mayor of Preston’s civic tribute to Ron Atkins

Posted on - 5th January, 2021 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - People, Politics, Preston News
Ron Atkins speaking in summer 2015 at a rally for Jeremy Corbyn at the Continental pub in Preston Pic: Tony Worrall
Ron Atkins speaking in summer 2015 at a rally for Jeremy Corbyn at the Continental pub in Preston Pic: Tony Worrall

The Mayor of Preston has paid tribute to Ron Atkins.


Mr Atkins was the longest living former MP, and passed away last month at 104 years old.

He represented Preston North twice in his time as an MP and was later a councillor at Preston City Council.

The Mayor of Preston, David Borrow, said: “I was sad to hear of the death of Ron Atkins a few days ago and would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to his widow Liz, his family and many friends he has left behind.

“As a former city councillor and Member of Parliament, much of Ron’s long life was dedicated to public service, both locally and in parliament. Although born in Glamorgan, Wales in 1916, Ron is most known for representing his adopted home, Preston. It’s been heartwarming to read the tributes to Ron, both locally and nationally.

“Serving as MP for Preston North from 1966 to 1970, and again from 1974 to 1979, Ron had been Britain’s longest-lived British MP. Ron also served as a Preston councillor from 1973 to 1976 and again from 1980 until he retired in 2010 at the age of 93 – his considerable oratory skills enabled him to always speak in the Council Chamber with real authority, and Ron was listened to with respect from all parties.

“Joining the Labour party as a teenager in the 1930s, he never wavered in his beliefs and support for social justice and for improved standards in healthcare, employment, education and housing.

“As his wife, Councillor Elizabeth Atkins has said, Ron was devoted to making the world better. Over 40 years ago, I went to see Ron when he was my MP to put the case for equality for gay men and lesbians. He was very supportive and as I worked with him over the years he was always on the side of equality and human rights.

“When I was an MP, I often used Ron as an example of what a good backbencher can achieve. In the late 1960s the government had to choose where the final Polytechnic would go – Preston or Blackburn. Ron was up against Barbara Castle but won the argument and the rest is history. Preston Polytechnic is now the University of Central Lancashire and a fantastic asset to Preston – thanks to Ron.

“Ron Atkins devoted much of his long life to serving Preston in public office. He leaves behind a great legacy and will be remembered well. May he rest in peace.”

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