Shock death of ex councillor (58)

Paul Smith
Paul Smith
  • Won seat on Burnley Council for Labour in Rosehill in 1980s
  • Left the council in 1999
  • Defected to Lib Dems in protest over Afghanistan war
  • Funeral service on Tuesday at Greenbrook Methodist Church

A former Burnley councillor has died of a brain haemorrhage aged just 58.

Paul Smith, who won a seat on Burnley Borough Council for Labour in Rosehill in the 1980s, died on Friday after being taken ill at his home in Lowerhouse.

I know he worked very long hours but he always seemed well and it was like a bolt from the blue when Janet rang me with the news

County Coun. Marcus Johnstone

He left the council in 1999 but still had many friends in the political world, of all parties.

His wife Janet said he woke up in the early hours of last Thursday with a bad headache. She went downstairs but when she returned a few minutes later he was unconscious. He was taken to hospital but never regained consciousness and died on Friday evening.

She said he had always been fit and well, but worked very long hours as an industrial chemist and was technical director of a national company based in Ellesmere Port where he commuted every day.

She said: “We had been together for 28 years, but it took us nine years to get round to getting married.”

Janet, who is retired, previously ran the Paul Smith china shop in Skipton.

Mr Smith spent his early years in Todmorden but attended high school in Burnley and then Nelson and Colne College before graduating with a chemistry degree from York University.

His wife said he loved his council work and was very much a people person. He rose through the ranks of the Labour party, becoming deputy leader when Kath Reade was leader, but later defected to the Lib Dems in protest over the Afghanistan war.

His friend and former Labour colleague on Burnley Council, County Coun. Marcus Johnstone, said they first met when he stood in Rosehill and won the seat that no-one expected the party to win. “He was a good friend and a people person. He was very bright and was happy to help everyone. He did a good job and although he moved to the LibDems in protest over the Afghanistan war he still had lots of friends in the Labour party. His death came as a real shock, I know he worked very long hours but he always seemed well and it was like a bolt from the blue when Janet rang me with the news.”

County Coun. Johnstone will give a eulogy at the funeral service on Tuesday at Greenbrook Methodist Church at 10-45am. This will be followed by committal at Burnley Crematorium at noon.

Mr Smith also leaves his 79-year-old mother Cynthia Smith who lives in Cliviger. His father Derek died some years ago and he was an only child.