Tributes paid to forces hero

Coun Jim Houldsworth

Coun Jim Houldsworth

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TRIBUTES have been paid to Blackpool councillor Jim Houldsworth who died on Saturday after battling lung disease.-

Coun Houldsworth, 70, was best known for his work with the veterans community and his lasting legacy will be Armed Forces Week which he firmly established in Blackpool’s annual events calendar.

The grandfather was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer in the lining of the lungs, last summer.

He died in Trinity Hospice with his family, including his wife Jacqueline whom he married in September 2010, at his side.

Last month he was presented with the Blackpool Medal by the council in recognition of his service to the town, and only last week he received a personal letter of praise from Prime Minister David Cameron.

Coun Peter Evans, leader of the Conservative group on Blackpool Council, said Coun Houldsworth, who had served Marton ward since 2000, would be missed very much.

He said; “Jim was a very principled man who stood up for what he believed in.

“He had a lot of time particularly for children’s services in Blackpool, especially looked after children but he also worked very hard for the people in his ward.”

Coun Houldsworth was hugely involved in supporting ex-military men and women in the town.

Julian Mineur, project manager at Supporting Our Brave on Bank Hey Street, said: “It is a very sad loss for Blackpool, for the Conservative party and the veterans community, but we will continue to honour his legacy.”

Former council events officer Mike Chadwick, who worked with Coun Houldsworth on Armed Forces Week, said; “It was his passion to establish this event in the town, honouring the armed forces.”

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “The people of Blackpool and the service community owe him an enormous debt for everything he did. That’s why he was respected by people of all political parties.”

Coun Houldsworth’s death comes just a week after the death of Bloomfield ward councillor Mary Smith.