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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Cumbria council deputy leader dies

The deputy leader of Cumbria County Council has died after suffering a suspected massive stroke.

Cumbria County Council photo
Jo Stephenson

Jo Stephenson was being cared for in the Royal Preston Hospital after suffering a fall at home three weeks ago.

Council officials say he had been making a good recovery and his prognosis earlier this week was thought to be positive.

He, however, passed away after suffering the suspected stroke last night.

Political colleagues and friends have been stunned by his death.

Liberal Democrat Mr Stephenson, a county councillor for Windermere since 2009, was number two to Labour's Stewart Young in the coalition that runs the authority.

Mr Young said: "We are all enormously shocked by this very sad news.

"I worked very closely with Jo since the 2013 elections and found him to be a very decent and honourable man. He will be thoroughly missed by his many friends and colleagues in Cumbria.”

Clare Feeney-Johnson, a friend of Mr Stephenson's and a fellow Liberal Democrat cabinet member, said: "This is one of the saddest days I have known.

"Jo was an inspiration for many of us and gave up so much of his time and resources in order to try and make Windermere and Cumbria a better place. All of our thoughts are with Hillary (his wife) and his family at this very distressing time.”

Mr Stephenson was a key figure in the Liberal Democrat party in Cumbria and worked as a secondary school teacher and solicitor as well as running a bed and breakfast.

He is survived by his wife Hillary and their two children.

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