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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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Veteran former Labour councillor dies

A peer today led tributes to a firebrand politician known as Mr Maryport.

Bill Cameron photo
Bill Cameron

Lord Dale Campbell-Savours said former Labour councillor Bill Cameron was a champion of the people he served for nearly half a century.

Mr Cameron, one of the most colourful and outspoken figures in Cumbrian local government, died on Friday, aged 87.

He represented Maryport at town and county level for 46 years.

Those who knew and worked with him said he would be remembered as a man unafraid to stand up for what he believed was right.

Lord Campbell-Savours worked with Mr Cameron while MP for Workington between 1979 and 2001.

He said: “During my years as MP he was truly Mr Maryport, a man who was highly significant in the history of the town.

“I like people who fight for their communities and he fought. Most of all, I liked him as a man. I have fond memories of him lecturing me while sitting in his kitchen.”

As well as being a powerful advocate for his home town, Mr Cameron was also a key player in the campaign to demand improvements to the West Coast Main Line, as well as helping to save the Carlisle to Settle line.

He retired from Cumbria County Council last year, where he said his mantra was: “You always work for the people.”

Mr Cameron’s Labour colleague Stewart Young, now the authority’s leader, said: “Bill was a major figure in Cumbrian politics.

“Bill never had to canvass in Maryport, everyone knew him and he knew them. He could be difficult because he was a very strong minded person and in politics that sometimes brings you onto opposing sides, but the thing about Bill was everything he did was really for the people he represented.

“He will be a great loss.”

Fellow Labour politician Keith Little, who represents Maryport South on the county council, said: “Bill was a remarkable man.”

Mr Little had been particularly impressed with Mr Cameron’s work in the 1980s to save the Carlisle-Settle line.

“Bill’s proud claim was that many people were beaten down by Margaret Thatcher in her strive to get things done but he took her on and beat her,” he added.

“He was a real influence on my political career.”

Allerdale council deputy leader Barbara Cannon also praised Mr Cameron as a local champion and said: “He left nobody in any doubt where his heart lay.”

Mr Cameron, of Christian Street, was first elected to Maryport town council in 1967.

Speaking as he retired last year, he revealed it was his experience as a coal man and picking up a colleague during flooding and helping with a clear-up operation – becoming unimpressed with the official response – that triggered him to stand for election.

He said that his work, as well as his involvement in rugby and wrestling, meant that he knew most people in the town but he still went out and knocked on every door to canvass votes.

Mr Cameron started as an independent before joining Labour five years later.

Have your say

bill and sheila came to our home every year, we became very fond of them both for their simple, honest lifestyles, not a trait that comes to mind, when one thinks of polticians these days, bill was a man of the people, and for the people, a hard act to follow

Posted by robert & jeanette watt on 26 March 2014 at 18:40

Difficult, generous, cantankerous and loyal. Bill was all those things and many, many more. A real character and I am very proud to have known him.

Posted by rob rimmer on 25 March 2014 at 23:22

View all 3 comments on this article

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