Tributes paid to former mayor

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Hartlepool mayor who died this week.

Bob Barnfather, 85, died on Monday at Gretton Court Nursing Home, in Heather Grove, Hartlepool.

He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, and had been ill for some time.

Married to the late Jean, Bob was dad to Keith, Alan, Lynn, Neil, Janice, Kay and Glenys, and was a granddad and great-granddad.

He served as a councillor for 20 years until he retired in 1992.

He was honoured with the title of Mayor of Hartlepool in 1986, and was made an Honorary Alderman in 1993 after his retirement.

A recipient of the British Empire Medal (BEM), he also chaired the national Federation of Economic Development Authorities (FEDA).

Earlier this year, Bob helped to open the new-look home where he lived after it was given a £400,00 makeover, being given the honour of cutting the ribbon.

Councillor Carl Richardson, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Bob Barnfather worked tremendously hard for Hartlepool and he will be particularly remembered for attracting new businesses to the town when he chaired the council’s industrial development committee.

“He helped to secure Enterprise Zone status for the town in the 1980s and played a key role, working closely with many others, in convincing companies worldwide that Hartlepool was a good location to establish a business.

“He also had a very good relationship with many of the town’s long-standing businesses and helped them to prosper.

“Bob was a committed trade unionist, a loyal member of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers and a real family man. His legacy will live on for many years to come and he will be missed.

“Our condolences go out to his family.”

Conservative group leader, Councillor Ray Wells, added: “On behalf of the Conservative group of councillors I would like to extend our deepest sympathy to Bob’s family.

“Bob was a fantastic ambassador for Hartlepool and his hard work has without a doubt shaped the Hartlepool that we all enjoy today.

“Bob worked tirelessly bringing industry and businesses to the town at a time when other local authorities were struggling to do so.

“He was a fantastic mayor, a hard-working ward councillor and I’m sure he will be missed by all.”

Eddie Morley, who was industrial development officer for Hartlepool Council from 1974 until 1990, worked closely with Bob and described him as “a great servant to Hartlepool”.

Mr Morley, 78, said; “We travelled all over the world to try and attract jobs to Hartlepool.

“Bob was heavily involved when we got the first enterprise zones. Anywhere there was a chance about bringing jobs to the town, Bob was there pushing for it.

“He was chairman of the industrial development committee, and spent all of his working life at Richardson Westgarths.

“He was a shop steward, a big trade union man, and he fought hard for Hartlepool. He was a great servant to the town.”

After hearing of his death, Hartlepool Borough Council has been flying the flag at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, at half-mast.

Bob’s funeral takes place at All Saints Church, Stranton, at 2pm tomorrow.