Poignant tributes have been paid after the death of a “wonderful” Chesterfield councillor.
Walter Burrows, who represented Brimington on Derbyshire County Council for 21 years, passed away at the age of 80 last Wednesday after a short illness.
Mr Burrows, who was a member of the Labour Party for 50 years and actively involved in many community organisations, was a former miner.
He was working on the day of the 1973 Markham colliery disaster and knew all 18 of the victims.
His wife Betty, of Brimington, said: “Walter was a wonderful man who was always working to help people – he was a beacon of the community.
“He will be sorely missed by all his family.”
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said Mr Burrows, the brother of Chesterfield Borough Council leader John Burrows, was a “dear friend”.
He added: “He was a wonderful servant to Brimington, Chesterfield and Derbyshire County Council.”
NE Derbyshire MP Natascha Engel added: “Walter was a lovely man and a great servant of the people of Brimington and Chesterfield.
“It is a sad loss for the Labour Party.”
Mr Burrows was chairman of Derbyshire County Council between 2005 and 2007.
Leaders of all three main political parties at the authority have paid tribute to Mr Burrows.
Cllr Anne Western, leader of the controlling Labour group, said: “Walt’s life-long commitment to the people of Brimington, Chesterfield and Derbyshire was outstanding. He was a major figure in the Labour Party locally and an active supporter of many community groups.
“Walt had great integrity, wisdom and wit and was a good friend and mentor to many councillors.”
Cllr Barry Lewis, leader of the Conservative group, said: “Walter was an extraordinary councillor who worked hard for Derbyshire. His contribution to the council on behalf of his residents was as great as it was long. He will be sorely missed.”
Cllr Keith Morgan, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “A quiet and reflective man, Walter was very well known, not only in his own village of Brimington, but in Derbyshire as a whole.
“He has contributed a significant amount to his own party and to the county over the many years he has served us. He will be greatly missed.”
Conservative Cllr Martin Thacker said: “I am proud to call Walter a close friend.
“He was the consummate local politician who put people first.
“I admired his many qualities that included wise counsel, considered approach, wonderful sense of humour and marvellous wit.
“His passing is a great loss for Chesterfield and Derbyshire but, more importantly, to the people he loved and those who love him.”
Independent Cllr Mick Baghaw, who served on Staveley Town Council, Chesterfield Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council, added: “Walter always treated me and others with respect and helpd where he could.
“Walt made no hesitation to approach me on my first day at County Hall. He greeted me with one of the most warmest welcomes anyone could wish for. He ensured I was put at ease and showed me around County Hall.
“Walt served Brimington and our county well and with pride – he will be sadly missed.”
Mr Burrows had served as a school governor for more than 40 years on Brimington Primary School and for over 20 years at Springwell Community College.
He leaves a widow, Betty, two children and five grandchildren.
His funeral will take place at Brimington Methodist Church at 1.15pm on Monday, November 3, and afterwards at Casa Hotel.