Tributes continue to pour in for former Sheffield councillor following death aged 56

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Sheffield politicians have continued to pay tribute to a long-standing former councillor who died suddenly last week.

Martin Brelsford, 56, was elected to represent Stocksbridge and Upper Don as a Liberal Democrat councillor in 1995 and served as a cabinet member and chair of committees.

He passed away on Monday, September 6 and leaves his wife Alison, two sons, Ewan, 20, and William, 15, and sister Kay.

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Martin was part of a political family – his late mother and father, Malcolm and Maureen, were both Stocksbridge councillors, as was Alison.

Martin Brelsford.Martin Brelsford.
Martin Brelsford.

Councillors paid tribute to him in a recent full council meeting.

Lord Mayor and Liberal Democrat councillor Gail Smith said: “Martin was an amazing and talented young man not just when he came onto the council but up until this week.

“Martin was a breath of fresh air. He was one of our first Liberal Democrat young councillors and he made a lot of changes and he worked very hard for this city that we are all proud of today.

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“Martin’s mother was our deputy leader for the Liberal Democrats, another amazing councillor.

“I can’t put into words how I feel today when I think about poor Alison and those boys.”

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of Sheffield Liberal Democrats, said: “This is really difficult. I have known Martin nearly 20 years, I’m 49 and he was 56, and his son Ewan was the same age as my son and often they would come to the Town Hall when my kids were there as well and when I got that phone call from Alison on Tuesday morning it really knocked me out.

“It’s a huge tragedy because he was a fantastic councillor but even more importantly, he was a fantastic individual who cared passionately for his area.”

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Coun Andrew Sangar said: “I was just shocked to hear the news of Martin’s death and my heart goes out to Alison and their sons Ewan and William.

“You always knew where you stood with Martin. He knew his wider Sheffield politics but knew that he came from Stocksbridge and it was a separate town with separate needs to the rest of Sheffield and he would always speak up for Stocksbridge and Deepcar and Bolsterstone and that part of the city.

“He was a robust operator in this place, he gave strong speeches, he was a good public speaker, he was combative in debating in this council chamber but he was also combative in group not just fighting for people of Stocksbridge and Deepcar but also for his liberal principles and what he saw as the right approach for the whole of Sheffield.”

Coun Chris Rosling-Josephs said he joined the council at the same time as Martin and shared a number of committees with him.

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“He was great to be with in social situations,” he said. “My heart goes out to his family, he was a great guy to be with and he is a loss to the city and politics in general because I believe he had a lot more to give.”