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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Tributes pour in for ‘outstanding' Cumbrian politician Hugh Little

Tributes from across the political spectrum have been paid to one of Carlisle’s leading Labour politicians.

Hugh Little photo
Hugh Little and wife Molly

Hugh Little – a former mayor, war veteran and ex-leader of both Carlisle City and Cumbria County councils – died at Eden Valley Hospice in Carlisle on Sunday.

His sister Mary Styth, from Ellesmere Way, said that Hugh was a “loving family man” and a wonderful brother to his brothers and sisters.

She added: “He was a shining example of leadership for the city of Carlisle, for the county and for northern England in general. His wonderful leadership shone whatever the task was.”

Hugh, who was in his late 80s, and Mary are the only brother and sister to have been mayors of Carlisle.

His grandson, Tom Little, said: “My grandad was a loving man and an inspiration to our family.

“He accomplished a great deal in his life and was respected by many, but I know that for him his biggest achievement would be meeting his wife of 64 years, Molly. They loved each other dearly, something I always admired.”

Stewart Young, the deputy leader of Cumbria County Council and leader of the Labour group, said that Hugh had made a huge contribution.

He said: “He was an outstanding politician – he really was a dominant on both the city, and subsequently the county council, but also regionally. He was respected and admired on all sides. He was a conscientious politician.”

Mr Young said that although Hugh’s health had deteriorated in recent months his mind was still sharp and he was very interested in what was going on.

John Collier, a Conservative member of the city council, said Hugh always had a kind word for everyone and was very helpful to him when he was first elected in 1979.

He said: “He was a genuine fellow and I’m very sorry for Molly and the family. He never had any airs and graces. For some it goes to their heads but not him.”

City councillor Heather Bradley, the secretary of the Carlisle Constituency Labour Party, said: “He will be remembered by many people for his outstanding public service and political leadership, his encouragement and mentoring of young members and his continuing lively interest in politics as he got older.”

John Mallinson, the leader of Carlisle City Council’s Conservative Group, said that ‘Hughie’ was a lovely man and one of the few who had managed to transcend party politics.

He added: “We had a very warm and friendly relationship. He was enormously proud of Carlisle and I just liked him.

“He was always happy and events like mayor-making would never be missed. Now he’s no longer with us we will miss him. He put an awful lot into Carlisle.”

A lifelong Labour Party member, Hugh was awarded the OBE and given the freedom of the city in honour of his services to local government.

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