Tributes have flooded in following the death of veteran Carlisle councillor Hugh McDevitt, who was known affectionately as Mr Denton Holme.

As both a long-serving Carlisle city councillor, and a Cumbria county councillor, Mr McDevitt was respected by all who knew him as a caring and conscientious local politician who made a positive and lasting difference to his community.

His death at the age of 70 has shocked those who knew him - particularly in the city's Labour Party, where his political vision was shared.

"He was Mr Denton Holme," said the party's local chairwoman Elsie Martlew, who has known Hugh for many years.

"As a councillor, people just had to ring him and they knew that the problem would be sorted. He cared about people and he cared about the city. He was always conscientious, and caring; and the people of Denton Holme benefited enormously from that."

Elsie pointed to Mr McDevitt's key role in securing popular cyclepaths in areas such as Bousteads Grassing and from Dalston to Carlisle.

"He suffered from ill-health, but it didn't stop him from working for his community. On behalf of everybody in the Labour Party and the community how shocked and saddened we are to learn of his death. Hugh really was a phenomena.

"He made a positive difference, and that's what being a councillor is about. People knew they could have confidence in him. He epitomised all of the good things that can go with serving your community as a local councillor."

Carlisle City Council leader Colin Glover said: "Hugh was really well-loved in Denton Holme. He was a real ambassador for his ward, through both the city and the county councils. He was passionate about his politics, and a real advocate for cycling.
"He'll be greatly missed."

Julia Clifford, whose iCan health and fitness studio moved recently to Lorne Street in Denton Holme, summed up Hugh by saying: "He was gentle, kind and genuine."

She spoke of how Hugh was enormously thrilled when he learned that iCan would be moving to his ward because he believed wholeheartedly in the regeneration of the urban village of Denton Holme.

Julia added: "Everybody in Denton Holme knew and respected Hugh.

"He made a huge and positive difference to people's lives.

"He recognised that we work with people who other gyms would turn down; and with people who wouldn't normally go to one. He was absolutely thrilled when we came to Denton Holme."

Mr McDevitt was first elected as a Carlisle City Council ward councillor in Denton Holme in 1995.

He had served as a member of the authority's employment panel and on the development control committee, community overview and scrutiny, resources overview and standards committee.