Manchester

Tributes as ex-Tameside Council leader Roy Oldham dies

Roy Oldham
Image caption Roy Oldham led Tameside Council for 30 years

Tributes have been paid to the former leader of Tameside Council, Roy Oldham, who has died at the age of 76.

Mr Oldham, who had cancer, passed away in hospital on Wednesday morning.

The Labour veteran was the longest serving council leader in England, having led the Greater Manchester authority for 30 years.

But in May, the party voted to replace Mr Oldham - who was first elected in May 1980 - with Droylsden East councillor Kieran Quinn.

Lord Peter Smith, chairman of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (Agma), was among the first to pay tribute to Mr Oldham.

"Roy was a fantastic leader for Tameside, a long-serving leader, really Tameside was right through his heart," he told the BBC.

"He co-operated well with Agma and certainly his dry humour and his sense of fun I think will be missed."

Mr Oldham was involved in the creation of the metropolitan borough council and a founder member of Agma.

He was appointed a CBE for his services to local government in the 1999 New Year Honours and was granted honorary Freeman of the Borough in 2005.

Known simply as The Leader in local government circles, Mr Oldham dedicated his life to improving the lives of people in the borough.

Current leader Councillor Kieran Quinn said the thoughts of Tameside Labour group were with Mr Oldham's family.

Drive and dedication

"It wasn't by luck or chance that he successfully led the local Labour group and Tameside Council for such a long time," he said.

"It was simply down to his drive, dedication and determination that the council and the borough would be the very best they could under his leadership.

"I was proud to have had the privilege to have worked with him as part of his leadership team and succeeding him feels like following in the footsteps of a giant."

Mr Oldham was re-elected as councillor for Longdendale at the recent local elections.

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