Tributes to one of Richmondshire’s longest standing councillors are being led this morning (Monday July 15) by the District Council he served for 24 years.
Councillor John Blackie died at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton at the weekend after a long battle with cancer. The former leader of Richmondshire District Council had fought to keep the hospital open – it was one of his main battling calls when he stood for parliament in 2015.
Current leader of the council, Councillor Angie Dale, said John was a battler in every way. “When John took up a cause he was relentless in seeing it through,” she said.
“He wanted to succeed in everything and more often than not he did – whether it was keeping open community libraries, the petrol station in his beloved Hawes, or the local post office. He cared passionately for the Dales and when he fought your cause you knew you had a good chance of winning.
“He will be a great loss to the district – and especially this district council. We will miss him in debates at meetings and I will miss his guidance. In my first four years as a councillor he mentored, advised and set me on my own community path.
“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the District Council are with John’s family and close friends.”
She said the District Council will pay its respects by lowering the flag at Mercury House in Richmond. A book of condolence is also available to sign at Mercury House and at the Hawes Community Office.
John joined Richmondshire Council in May 1995 and had represented the Hawes, High Abbotside and Upper Wensleydale area ever since, winning his seat again in May this year. He was council leader from 2001 to 2007 and again from 2011 to 2015. He was a tireless and energetic Member of the Council who was an active part of countless committees and working groups – many of which he led from the chair. His appointments were extensive but most recently John chaired the Council’s Planning Committee and was Vice-Chairman to the Council’s External Scrutiny Committee – alongside representing Richmondshire on the North Yorkshire Scrutiny of Health Committee.