Councillor John Browne has passed away at the age of 71.Advertisement
Councillor Browne was the longest sitting member of Preston City Council, having served Brookfield since 1983.
In a long and distinguished career, John held roles including Chair of Planning and Chair of Licensing, two key committees.
Preston Labour said it was deeply saddened by the news of Councillor Browne’s passing, and had suspended campaigning.
Tributes have flooded in for Councillor Browne from across Preston Labour.
Leader of Preston City Council, Councillor Matthew Brown, said: “John was a deeply loved member of the Labour family and we are all currently in mourning.
“A principled socialist who would stick to what he believed, John ruffled many a feather when he thought it was needed.
“John served Brookfield residents with a deep passion and took up many progressive causes including opposition to the Bedroom Tax and building solidarity with the Palestinian people.
“Whether you agreed with him or not, John was the kind of politician that everyone respected across the political divide in Preston.
“On a personal level he was the warmest, most caring individual you could meet as well as being funny and at times quite off the wall.
“Many of us feel really privileged to have known him and to have had him as a good friend.”
Preston Labour member Rob Gregson said: “I remember canvassing with John in South Ribble. He came to see a theatre performance I was promoting around the time of the last election. We sat down together to watch it and had a great chat afterwards. RIP John.”
Councillor for Deepdale Siraz Natha said: “Irrespective of your political persuasion, John made an effort to speak to you.
“I first met John in 1996, and he was chair of a committee and I was vice chair and I never felt undermined. In all the time I knew him we never clashed, testament to the character of John.
“He certainly was one in a million. RIP.”
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Liberal Democrat Councillor for Ingol, Cottam and Tanterton and Deputy Mayor of Preston, Neil Darby, added to the tributes:
He said: “When I was first elected, one of the first people to congratulate me was John Browne.
“After I first spoke in council, John made a point of coming to talk to me afterwards. John was consistently the nicest person in the room and the most eloquent.
“He fiercely stood up for what he believed was right and he would listen to all sides of a debate before reaching his conclusion.
“Preston and the city council are much poorer for his loss. My thoughts are with his friends and family. RIP John.”
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