Plaque honours memory of popular Queensgate councillor

Cathy Bennett is pictured at the unveiling of Coun. Bill Bennett's memorial plaque on Barden Road in Burnley. G2220111/1
Cathy Bennett is pictured at the unveiling of Coun. Bill Bennett's memorial plaque on Barden Road in Burnley. G2220111/1

A RESPECTED Burnley councillor who died after a brave battle with cancer last year has been honoured with a special plaque.

Lib-Dem Coun. Bill Bennett, who was both a county councillor and Queensgate ward councillor, died aged 61 in March.

Friends, family and colleagues came out to remember the “one in a million” man as his wife Cathy unveiled the memorial plaque during a ceremony at the rear of 256-278 Barden Lane.

Council leader Charlie Briggs spoke of his life-long friend Bill as “the best councillor Burnley ever had” and was touched by the warmth of support for him at the ceremony.

“It was a sombre occasion but it was an awesome tribute that people recognised how good a councillor he was.

“It was very moving and it made me feel really proud that I was a friend of Bill Bennett.

“He touched a lot of people - not just him being a councillor but people he met in the streets. They do not make people like Bill Bennett - he is a once in a lifetime man and it is a privilege to have known him.”

Coun. Bennett’s dedication was described as “inspirational” and his colleagues said he would always go the extra mile to help people solve their problems regardless of how difficult or obscure.

One of the last causes he was fighting for before his untimely death was the battle to resurface a short stretch of back street on Barden Lane.

At the time, residents claimed that Lancashire County Council contractors had damaged the street surface, but no-one would take up the fight - except Coun. Bennett.

But before he could see the campaign through, Coun. Bennett was hospitalised with cancer and later died.

However, his fellow ward councillors took on the campaign and now the street has been re-surfaced and had new security gates erected.

In a fitting tribute to his work, the memorial plaque, which reads : “In memory of Bill Bennett. Queensgate Ward Councillor 2004-2010”, was placed at the site of his final fight.

Colleague Coun. Darren Reynolds, who spoke at the ceremony, said: “It is an appropriate place to remember Bill. He never wanted the limelight. He just wanted to work for the residents. That’s just the man he was.”