EMOTIONAL tributes have been paid to a former councillor who has passed away after a short battle with leukaemia.
Bernard Carr, a former Hartlepool and Cleveland County councillor, died in hospital at the weekend.
The 58-year-old was agent for Lord Peter Mandelson during part of his time as MP for Hartlepool and he was also part of the team involved in Hilary Clinton’s 2008 unsuccessful Presidential election campaign in America.
Lord Mandelson told the Mail he may not have become an MP had it not been for Mr Carr.
Mr Carr was first elected to represent the St Hilda ward on Hartlepool Council in 1989 and he was a Labour councillor in the borough until 2000.
He served as chairman of the authority’s housing committee and for several years was also a member of Cleveland County Council.
Lord Mandelson said: “Hartlepool has lost an important voice, the Labour Party has lost a local leader and I have lost a good friend.
“Bernard had a sharp political mind, great wit and a strong sense of loyalty.
“He played an important role in restoring the fortunes of the Labour Party locally over the course of the past few decades.
“He was well-grounded in his community and knew what made working people tick.
“ His advice and support to me was invaluable and, were it not for his backing, I may not have made it into Parliament without him in 1992.
“I owe him a great deal and will miss him dearly.”
Labour councillor Ged Hall, who grew up with Mr Carr, said: “Bernard was a very clever man and he was underestimated by a lot of people.
“As someone once said, ‘Bernard Carr was the best leader Hartlepool Council never had’.
“He was agent for Peter Mandelson when he was MP and he was also involved in Hilary Clinton’s election campaign in America, I am not sure how he became involved, but he was certainly part of the team out there.
“He was a very interesting person and he loved to debate, he was very challenging and he would often argue a cause that he didn’t even believe in just for the purpose of having a debate.
“I will certainly miss him, and his sudden death has come as a massive shock.”
Mr Carr was diagnosed with leukaemia and organ failure problems in April and he was admitted to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, in early May.
He was placed in an induced coma for 15 days while he received treatment but his condition deteriorated and he died last weekend.
The former Sacred Heart School and St Francis Grammar School pupil, who later went onto study politics at Salford University, was born in Hartlepool.
He was the founding member of the Cleveland Housing Trust.
Coun Hall said: “One of Bernard’s passions was housing and he set up the trust.
“He also enjoyed travelling to France and became an expert on their wine and culture.”
In recent months Mr Carr had been the campaign manager for Michael J Carr, in his bid to become the Mayor of Middlesbrough.
Divorced Mr Carr had in recent years been living in Middlesbrough.
He is survived by a brother and two sisters.