Tributes have been paid to a former leader of Northampton Borough Council who passed away this week.
Brian Hoare was the leader of the Liberal Democrats for a period when the party had control at The Guildhall between 2007 and 2011.
Mr Hoare also had a spell as a county councillor, and his death was announced this morning during a meeting at County Hall by members of the party he had belonged to.
Paying tribute to his former colleague, current borough and county councillor Dennis Meredith said: “It’s a very sad day for us in the Lib Dems. Brian was a stalwart in the party and he was a Lib Dem through and through.
“He was a brave man as he had been diagnosed with throat cancer in August and he never told anybody that the cancer was terminal.
“He carried on doing his work with the Lib Dems even though he knew his time was coming to an end.
“I received a text from him four days before he died asking me to send him information, so right up until the time he died, even when he was lying in his bed as he had chosen to go home to die, he was working on motions for us to put through.”
Although no longer its leader or even a councillor, Mr Hoare was a regular face in the public gallery in meetings at The Guildhall up until very recently, and would often address councillors in public deputations.
Mr Hoare had been a councillor for the Abington ward from 2003 until he lost his seat in the 2011 elections. Since then he had stood on two occasions to try and win back a place on the Guildhall benches.
He had been leader of the borough council from October 2009, when he replaced then leader Tony Woods after the ‘Astragate’ row over Mr Woods leaving his untaxed car in a car park at The Guildhall for three months without removing it.
Two months after taking over as leader, the borough council came out of special measures having been named the ‘worst council in the country’ five years earlier by the then local government minister.
Continuing his tribute, Councillor Meredith said: “Brian was a very private man. You never knew anything about his past because he never talked about it. He would only talk about local government.
“During his time as leader of NBC he helped to take it out of special measures and he will always be remembered for that.
“Our sympathies are with his wife and his children, and we are going through a very traumatic time. We will miss him like him anything. Nobody had a bad word to say about him. He loved the council and he loved the Lib Dems and he will be greatly missed.”
County council leader Matt Golby, who is also a borough councillor, paid tribute to Mr Hoare on behalf of the Conservative party. He said: “I pass my condolences to the Lib Dems. I can only agree with Dennis that he will be a massive loss. He engineered a lot of their motions and although we didn’t really agree with what was said that is how politics works. But I had respect for him as a politician and I know he will leave a big hole in the local democracy scene.”