FORMER Hartlepool MP Peter Mandelson has paid tribute to former mayor Ray Waller, who died at the weekend.
Mr Waller served as a councillor for 44 years and was also a freeman of the town. He died on Saturday aged 75 in Hartlepool & District Hospice after a short battle with cancer.
He was also a council leader and went on to serve Hartlepool Borough Council until his retirement in 2007.
Lord Mandelson worked closely with Mr Waller during his time as Hartlepool’s MP between 1992-2004, and contacted the Mail to pay his own tribute to a “a true public servant”.
Lord Mandelson said: “Ray Waller was a stalwart of the town, a true public servant who cared deeply for all tonwspeople, whatever their political persuasion.
“I greatly valued working with him when he was leader of the council.
“My thoughts are with Jean and the family.”
Meanwhile the flags outside Hartlepool College of Further Education, in Stockton Street, have been flying at half mast as a mark of respect to Mr Waller.
He was chair of governors at the college for 26 years from 1981 to 2007, and was also a former governor of Rossmere Primary School and Brierton Comprehensive School.
A Civic funeral will be held at All Saints Church Stranton on Friday at 11am.