A POPULAR former mayor has died after collapsing during a poignant memorial service.
Tragedy struck after honorary alderman Wilf Callon – Fylde Council’s only ever Labour mayor – collapsed during Sunday’s ceremony to honour Sgt Nigel Coupe and LCpl Stephen Burrows at St Annes war memorial.
Bystanders rushed to help Mr Callon, who was in his late 80s, but he died a short time later.
And today, leading councillors led the tributes to their former colleague, who had only celebrated his 65th wedding anniversary with wife Hilda in June.
Fylde Council’s leader, Coun David Eaves, said: “It was a sad day in every respect.
“It was a tragedy for the family of Wilf Callon. Wilf was a very popular member of Fylde Council and an honorary alderman.
“We all had tremendous respect for the often lonely battles he fought for residents.”
Mr Callon was elected in 1960 – at his fifth attempt – as a councillor for St John’s ward in Lytham and served for more than 30 years before leaving the council in 1991.
The council’s deputy leader, Coun Sue Fazackerley knew Mr Callon well and added: “It was a fittingly solemn occasion but which was saddened further by Wilf’s collapse.
“I suppose Wilf died as he lived – carrying out his civic duties. He was the definitive local councillor and he knew everyone.
“He was hardworking and humble at the same time.
“He remained interested in local affairs even when his time as a councillor ended and he had the respect of everyone interested in public affairs in the borough.” Mr Callon was one of 400 local residents who turned out to see a plaque on the Ashton Gardens memorial. It had been re-dedicated to Sgt Nigel Coupe, who died in Afghanistan in March, and LCpl Stephen Burrows, who was killed at an army checkpoint in Northern Ireland in 1990.
Click here to read about the memorial service: