DCSIMG

Police in hunt for car crash killer

Towering figure Steve Weaver who led Blackpool Council between 2002 and 2011

Towering figure Steve Weaver who led Blackpool Council between 2002 and 2011

A manhunt is underway today to catch a motorist who fled the scene of a crash which killed former Blackpool Council chief executive Steve Weaver.

A manhunt is underway today to catch a motorist who fled the scene of a crash which killed former Blackpool Council chief executive Steve Weaver.

Mr Weaver died on Wednesday after being involved in a collision with a Ford car near his holiday home in the hamlet of Veaux near Malaucene at around 1.30pm.

Commander Sébastien Roussignol, from the police in Malaucène, said: “The cyclist had gone out for a ride in the countryside.

“The driver of the car coming in the opposite direction lost control and hit the cyclist.

“He was hit by the car and left for dead. The driver escaped on foot. They have not yet been identified and we are searching for them.

“The helicopter was put up to help Mr Weaver and take him to hospital, but he was already in respiratory arrest.”

Mr Weaver, who was 64, retired from the council at the end of 2011 after nearly 10 years at the helm.

The father-of-three was a keen cyclist and led the drive to achieve cycling town status for Blackpool.

Coun Don Clapham, deputy leader of the Conservative group on Blackpool Council, said: “He was the supremo who brought us into the modern world.

“Steve was instrumental in many things for the town.

“He had a huge personal interest in cycling, often riding to work all the way from Blackburn, it is therefore incredibly sad that he has been killed doing what he loved.

“It was an interest I shared with him and he saw cycling as one of the ways in which people in Blackpool could get fitter and healthier.”

His successor, Neil Jack said: “Steve cared passionately about Blackpool and dedicated himself to improving the town during his time as chief executive.  

“He led many major projects, with the new seafront being the crowning achievement among them. 

“I hope the significant physical legacy Steve left in Blackpool can provide some small comfort to his family and friends during this incredibly sad time.”

Council bosses have said the Town Hall flag is now to be flown at half-mast as a mark of respect.

Mr Weaver was appointed chief executive of Blackpool Council in 2002.

During his time in charge he spearheaded the masterplan which included bidding for a super-casino licence to help regenerate the town.

He also helped draw in investment for the new Promenade and upgraded tramway, and for the purchase of the Winter Gardens and the Tower by the council.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “He had a vision for Blackpool and when the history of Blackpool is written I think he will occupy a strong and important part of it.

“He was a man of great abilities and had a wonderfully dry sense of humour, his life has been cut short in an awful fashion.”

It was estimated that during his decade in the role the town received around £300m in Government grants to help deliver key projects.

A keen cyclist, he promoted the past-time in the town with events such as Ride the Lights which now attracts thousands of riders.

In 2007, Mr Weaver took part in the 59-mile Manchester to Blackpool Cycle Ride as part of a council team raising money for the Mayor’s charity appeal.

Coun Clapham added: “It is tragic he has died while riding his bicycle, at no age and with a lot more to give.”

Coun Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Steve’s passing. 

“He was a towering figure who served the people of Blackpool with passion, tenacity and diplomacy for a decade.”

And Coun Douglas Green, leader of the Liberal Democrats at Blackpool Council, said: “Every councillor who met Steve had great respect for him and a great deal of admiration for his hard work and dedication.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the death of a British national in France on May 28.

“We stand ready to provide consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.”

n Former Mayor of Blackpool Coun Joan Greenhalgh died yesterday following an illness.

Coun Greenhalgh, who represented Clifton ward for Labour, suffered a stroke in May 2010 but battled back to serve as the town’s Mayor in 2011/12.

See tomorrow’s Gazette for full tributes.

 
 
 

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