Tributes have been paid to trade union leader and former town mayor John McCormack.
Mr McCormack, the former mayor of Ashington, died on Friday, December 13, following a short illness.
During his life he was heavily involved in politics in Northumberland, in particular the Wansbeck area of the county serving as a councillor for many years.
Mr McCormack was also vice-president of the University and College Union (UCU).
Paying tribute to him, the union said Mr McCormack was a wonderful, principled man steeped in the trade union movement who will be sorely missed.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “John was a wonderful, principled man. He was always courteous, even when he disagreed with you. John embodied everything that is so good and important about education. He was steeped in the trade union movement and made friends wherever he went. His death is a huge loss to UCU and to anybody fortunate enough to have met or worked with him.”
He was elected national president of UCU in 2012 and was due to serve his term next year.
Mr McCormack was active in the trade union movement all his working life and was the branch chairman at Northumberland College for many years.
While there he led many successful campaigns against compulsory redundancies and for improvements to lecturers’ terms and conditions.
Mr McCormack was also chairman of UCU’s Northern Region Committee for many years and a member of the union’s National Executive Committee.
In addition to his UCU activities, he also served on several regional and national bodies, including the Executive Committee of the Northern Region TUC.
Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader at Northumberland County Council, said: “We are very sad to hear this news. John has been a highly thought of man who has dedicated his life to the region, to the people of Northumberland and in particular the people of Wansbeck and Ashington. He had a tremendous passion for helping others and passing on his knowledge as an educator. He will be sadly missed by his friends and colleagues and our condolences go out to his family.”
Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, also paid tribute to Mr McCormack, saying he had learnt many things from the former mayor.
“John was much a respected man of the people and he loved and treasured the community of Wansbeck of which he proudly served and will be sadly missed by many people across South East Northumberland and beyond,” said Mr Lavery.
He added: “As an individual I am very pleased to have known and learnt many things from John. He is a huge loss to our area.”