Tributes paid to ‘passionate’ former mayor whose cancer fight featured on TV

John Hardy as he took on the role of Peterlee's mayor.
John Hardy as he took on the role of Peterlee's mayor.

A former mayor who opened up about his fight against cancer on national television has been laid to rest after the disease returned.

Former Peterlee mayor John Hardy appeared on Channel 4’s Stand up to Cancer after doctors discovered he had bowel cancer in 2012.

He was well liked by a lot of people and many I have spoken to have said when he was mayor, he was a gentleman and respected everybody.

Councillor Bill Jeffrey

The 68-year-old died peacefully in Hartlepool & District Hospice, a charity he had backed, with his legacy to live on through donations to its fund and Cancer Research UK collected at his funeral at Durham Crematorium.

John joined Peterlee Town Council in May 2007 as a Labour member and represented the Dene House Ward.

He was mayor in 2011-12 before stepping down from the council at the end of his term.

Councillor Bill Jeffrey, the party’s spokesman, said: “He was passionate about Peterlee.

“He was well liked by a lot of people and many I have spoken to have said when he was mayor, he was a gentleman and respected everybody.

“He was very proud to be mayor.

“Even though he had been very ill, he was always very positive.”

John, who as a governor of Dene House School spearheaded a successful campaign to halt a merger between it and Shotton Hall, was in remission for a year and was an ambassador for Cancer Research UK.

A tribute from his family said: “John absolutely amazed doctors with his resilience, courage and determination.

“His sense of humour and irony never left him and up until a few days before his death he still had that twinkle in his eye and his mischievous sense of humour.”