Tributes paid to former Lord Mayor of Chester

Reporter:

Neil Bellis

Tributes have been paid to a ‘delightful’ former Lord Mayor who has passed away aged 75.

Gordon Smith, who was a Liberal Democrat councillor for many years on the old Chester City Council representing Hoole, died on April 5 after a long illness.

Mr Smith, originally from Lancashire and a devoted Bury FC supporter, had served as the Lord Mayor of Chester in 1994-95 and had also been the Sheriff of Chester in 1986-87.

He also stood as the Liberal Democrat candidate in the 1992 Parliamentary elections, coming third when Gyles Brandreth was elected to the seat.

Former Hoole councillor Bob Thompson said: “Gordon played a pivotal role in the growth of Liberalism and Liberal Democracy in his adopted city of Chester. He represented Hoole on the city council for over two decades and represented the city as Sheriff and later Lord Mayor.

“He was a hard-working local councillor and many residents of Hoole have stopped me to express their sadness at this time and to share memories of the many causes and personal support he gave to individuals and the community of Hoole. He will be sadly missed.

“It is right at this time to grieve his passing but I think too we should celebrate the man. There is a photograph of Gordon in the Town Hall, taken in his prime dressed in the Lord Mayor’s regalia. It captures Gordon well. Proud to be Lord Mayor, a handsome face smiles down, a welcoming face, someone you would enjoy talking to, someone who is genuinely interested in you and your concerns.

“That was the Gordon I knew. A proud husband and father, a doughty fighter for those who had not been dealt the best of life’s cards, someone who stood up for his community. But also he enjoyed life. He laughed readily and infectiously, had bags of common sense and had a wealth of tales of past campaigns and doorstep conversations while electioneering.”

Mr Smith was also a member of the United Reformed Church in Hoole and was a previous chairman of CLASP – Chester Lodging and Support.

Former Lib Dem councillor Sue Proctor said his reputation in the city won their party many votes.

She said: “He was an inspiration. When I was knocking on doors in Vicars Cross people said they would vote for the Liberal Democrats because of Gordon.

“When he stood for Parliament in 92 he was supposed to be the Lord Mayor. They are politically neutral so he couldn’t, so I became the first Lord Mayor. I was so pleased he went on to become Lord Mayor later.

“He was a lovely man. Always cheerful and positive.”

Former Lib Dem city councillor Jean Evans said: “He was the loveliest person, absolutely delightful. I don’t know anyone who didn’t like him and that includes people from other parties.”

Mr Smith, who worked in the water industry, leaves his wife Barbara and two children, Jenny and Duncan.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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