Tributes have been paid to former Mayor and Honorary Alderman William Sumner.
William, known by everyone as ‘Bill’, was a Conservative councillor for Great Harwood from 1976, a role which he carried out for 20 years. He was also Mayor of Hyndburn from 1990-91.
Bill, who lived in Great Harwood with his wife of 56 years Kathleen, passed away on New Year’s Day aged 82 from a sudden heart attack while out walking around his beloved home town.
His daughter Susan Presho said: “He went for his walk every single morning, and he died while out doing something he loved. He was a caring, loving dad and he loved taking us out to the countryside, we always had to walk a lot! He was well known for being very much to the point, he spoke his mind and you knew where you stood with him, and he fought for the people of Great Harwood.”
Bill was a freelance electrician for many years, going on to work at Whitebirk power station and then Padiham power station, where he worked for 20 years before his retirement in 1995.
In his spare time he loved gardening and enjoyed breeding rabbit and canaries, winning prizes for his black and white Dutch rabbits at shows.
He was made an Honorary Alderman in 2002 for his long legacy of community work in Great Harwood and across the whole borough.
Susan, 53, added: “It was nice for him to be recognised for all the work he had done for Harwood over the years.”
Bill’s fellow councillors and friends paid tribute to him at a meeting of Hyndburn’s full council on Thursday, January 5.
Huncoat councillor Bernard Dawson, who also served with Bill on the council, said: “He was easy to get on with and a conscientious councillor for Great Harwood. It is a sad loss. You could always have a good natter with him.”
Speaking after the meeting he added: “He was a really nice bloke and we always got on well together. He was committed to get the help and resources for Great Harwood and getting the best for the people there.”
Coun Peter Britcliffe became a Conservative colleague of Bill’s after joining the council in 1984.
He said: “It was a celebratory occasion because we had just taken control of the council. Bill was a chairman of what was then called the environmental and cleansing committee. He was no-nonsense and straight down the middle with you. He will be sadly missed and he was a trusted friend.”
Bill leaves his wife Kathleen, children Philip and Susan and grandchildren Katie, Luke, Leah and Marnie. His funeral will take place on Thursday, January 12 at St Bartholomew’s and St John’s Church in Great Harwood at 1.15pm.