Tributes pour in for former mayor

COLOURFUL CHARACTER: Bridlington MP Sir Greg Knight (right) is among those who have paid tribute to Coun Ray Allerston, who died last week.

COLOURFUL CHARACTER: Bridlington MP Sir Greg Knight (right) is among those who have paid tribute to Coun Ray Allerston, who died last week.

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Tributes have been paid from across the political divide to former Bridlington mayor Coun Ray Allerston, who died last week.

he SDP councillor was born in the village of Grindale and lived in the East Riding all his life.

He grew up in farming communities and ran a small-holding on the outskirts of Bridlington until 1990 when he retired from farming to become a self-employed private hire car driver, finally retiring from work in 2001.

He was first elected to East Yorkshire Borough Council in 1987 and represented the people of Old Town ward for more than 25 years. He served on the Bridlington Town Council since its establishment in 2000.

Current mayor, Coun Shelagh Finlay, said: “Ray was very proud to be elected mayor for the year 2007-2008 and was a credit to the office.

“He was a larger than life character who will certainly be missed by all and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Christine and his family at this very sad time.”

Bridlington’s MP Sir Greg Knight stood alongside Coun Ray Allerston when they delivered a petition to keep services at Bridlington Hospital to 10 Downing Street.

Sir Greg said: “Ray Allerston was a colourful local character and a hard working councillor.

“Although we did not always see eye to eye, he was always a pleasure to work with and I am deeply saddened by his death.

“The East Riding is a poorer place for his passing and my thoughts are with his family.”

Chairperson of Bridlington SDP, Coun Jackie Foster, added: “He was a true inspiration to me.

“I first met him two years ago when he came knocked on my door while canvassing. “I went to one of the SDP’s monthly meetings, and when a seat became available he proposed me.

“I’m truly going to miss him, he always did everything he could for people. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Ray.

“I hope the people will support me in carrying on his legacy.”

A by-election to fill the vacancy on the town council will be held, if requested by 10 electors, on 8 October.

Other tributes from councillor colleagues included:

Coun Liam Dealtry: “A true councillor. A real gent. When I first got into local council and politics Ray was my mentor .

A real councillor who did everything he could for the residents. He will be missed by all Old Town residents .

Coun Cyril Marsburg: “I’ve known Raymond for over 30 years as a fellow councillor.

“We both started our political involvement when the SDP was created, although I left when the party turned liberal.

“Raymond worked hard for the residents he represented. He could be blunt, but to the the point. We had our disagreements, many of them over the years, but I’ve got to say I grew very fond of him in his later years.

“Ray was the SDP here in Bridlington it will now fade away.

“I will miss him, as will the town council. Raymond may you rest in peace, my condolences to Christine on your sad loss.

Bridlington town clerk Paula King: “Councillor Allerston thoroughly embraced his role and always considered the best interests of the residents when carrying out his duties.

“He was a leading force with the SDP Group and very well respected by all councillors and officers within the council.

“Such a lovely man who always brought a bit of colour to council proceedings.”

Coun Stephen Parnaby, OBE, Leader of East Riding Council: “He will always be remembered as a genuine character and a good ward councillor. His very personal style and his passion will be remembered by us all, and he will be missed by his colleagues.”

Coun Richard Burton said: “To hear the news last week was very sad.

“Ray has been a long-standing member of the East Riding Council. He was a larger than life character - I remember him being very invested in his work and his ward.”