EMOTIONAL tributes have been paid to a former mayor and councillor who arrived in Hartlepool during one of the darkest periods in world history.
Harry Clouth, who worked as a councillor for more than 20 years, has died at the age of 82.
The former Labour councillor has been described as a “devoted” family man and “true gentleman” by those who knew him best.
● To leave a tribute to Harry Clouth, log in at the bottom of this story
Dutch-born Mr Clouth looked set for a promising career as a young footballer in Holland, before his family were forced to flee to Hartlepool after the German invasion.
A former shipwright, he became involved in politics in his 50s and was elected as a ward councillor in Throston in 1985.
He was made mayor in 1998 before eventually standing down as a councillor in 2008.
In 2010, he was honoured with an Alderman of the Borough.
At the time, Mr Clouth said: “It is nice to be recognised for something that you have done and I am very honoured to receive the award.”
The father-of-four and granddad-of-six passed away on Tuesday in the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, after suffering a stroke.
Harry Clouth Jnr, 42, of Ingleby Barwick, said: “Dad dearly loved his family and that was a strong component in his life.
“Family was the most important thing to him and we were all very proud when he was honoured with an Alderman title.”
The married dad-of-three said: ““Hartlepool meant a lot to him and he was always championing the town.”
Mr Clouth leaves behind four children, Harry Jnr, Peter, Diane Williams and Marion Newbon.
His late wife Maureen – described as the “love of his life” – passed away nine years ago at the age of 73. The pair were married for almost 50 years.
Mr Clouth was born in Rotterdam, Holland, in 1930 to an English father and a Dutch mother.
He was recognised as a sporting talent and signed by a local football club aged just eight.
But his hopes were cut short by the German invasion and because of his British status the family were forced to flee and escaped to Hartlepool.
The family moved into Dundas Street and the youngster attended Lister Street School.
A big influence was the Boys Welfare Boys Club which he represented in a number of sports.
At 14 he started a seven-year apprentice as a shipwright at Gray’s shipyard after which he did his national service and spent two years as a carpenter in the Merchant Navy.
He returned to Hartlepool and worked his way through the ranks at the shipyards, even turning down a professional contract with Hartlepool United.
Mr Clouth then entered politics, also serving 14 years as a County Councillor.
During his year as mayor he raised £36,000 for the Alzheimer’s Trust.
A civic funeral is due to take place at Stranton Church, in Hartlepool, on Friday, June 29 at 1.30pm.