MOURNERS were today due to pay their respects at the funeral of a former MP.
Hartlepool-born Frank Cook, who served as MP for the Stockton North constituency for 27 years, died at the University Hospital of North Tees last Tuesday night.
The dad-of-four, who was diagnosed with lung cancer early last year, had a tumour in his right lung and a secondary tumour in a lymph gland near his heart.
His funeral service was due to take place this morning at St Cuthbert’s Roman Catholic Church, in Spring Street, Stockton, followed by cremation at the Stranton Grange Crematorium, in Hartlepool.
The 76-year-old, who lived in Stockton with his wife, Somsangouane Baldinger, from Laos, was first elected MP in June 1983.
He also leaves behind four children, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren from his first marriage.
Tributes last week flooded in to Mr Cook who had a varied career, including working as a transport manager and Butlins Redcoat, before becoming an MP.
The Leader of Stockton Borough Council, Councillor Bob Cook, paid tribute to his hardworking friend and colleague, while Hartlepool MP said it was a “remarkable achievement” to represent an area in Parliament for more than a quarter of a century.
Mr Cook’s successor as MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, also paid tribute to his campaigning efforts.
During his long political career, Mr Cook campaigned on many local, national and international issues after winning the Stockton North seat for Labour following the defection of Bill Rodgers.
He continued to represent the constituency until the 2010 General Election after being deselected by the Labour Party.
Mr Cook played key roles in backing plans for a new hospital at Wynyard, opposing moves to merge Cleveland Police into a regional force and supporting Durham Tees Valley Airport.
Nationally, he worked closely with Ann Ming, from Billingham, for the landmark change in the double jeopardy law over the murder of her daughter Julie Hogg, also from Billingham.