Former Sheffield councillor and champion of local democracy dies after cancer battle

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A former Sheffield councillor who worked worldwide to ensure elections and democracy were safeguarded has died.

Howard Knight was a Sheffield councillor in the 1980s and 90s and was a former chairman of the finance committee, works department and secretary of the now defunct Community Health Council, which gave a voice to patients in the health service.

He was also chairman of a national negotiating forum for pay, terms and conditions of all building and civil engineering employees in UK local government.

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Between 1994 and 2001 he was head of the Local Government Unit at the national Labour Party working alongside former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Howard KnightHoward Knight
Howard Knight

From there he became a consultant concentrating on improving public sector performance, especially in local government.

As part of this, he worked with emerging democracies including Bangladesh, Bosnia, El Salvador, Egypt, Moldova, Mongolia, Serbia, Somaliland and all the former Yugoslav countries.

Mr Knight, aged 69 and from Burngreave, had been suffering from cancer. He passed away peacefully in hospital on March 10.

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He leaves his wife Sioned-Mair Richards, a Labour councillor, children Roberta, Ben, Tomasin and Dan, and grandchildren Alba, Monty, Corinne, Camille and Felix.

A service will be held at Grenoside Crematorium, North Chapel on Thursday, March 19 at 3pm. No flowers please, donations if wished, made payable to S2 Food Poverty Network may be sent to Adam Heath, John Heath & Sons, 4-16 Earsham Street, Sheffield, S4 7LS or online at