THE friend and agent of former Labour Trinity councillor Tony Lambert has been elected in a by-election following the former mayor’s sad death.
The Labour candidate Tony Martin won convincingly to retain his party’s seat following the death from cancer of previous incumbent Mr Lambert (72) in June.
Mr Martin, who last served as a Burnley councillor in 1984, was more recently a Lancashire County councillor in 2009.
He said: “I wish this by-election had never had to take place because Tony was a good friend of mine.
“I was actually his agent at the election in May and even though we knew he was suffering from cancer no-one expected him to pass away so soon after.
“He was a tremendous ward councillor for Trinity and I have big boots to fill. It is a long time since I was on Burnley Council but I have more recently served on Lancashire County Council. I do not agree with sharing two mandates and I am now just delighted to be back at Burnley.”
Coun. Martin, married to Maureen, herself a former county councillor, picked up 493 votes beating his nearest rival, the Liberal Democrat candidate Stephanie Forrest with 256 votes.
The development officer for the Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Council for Voluntary Service said the challenge of rebuilding Trinity following the end of the Elevate programme was now key.
“There are some real challenges at Trinity, one of the most run-down areas in Burnley, which in my view is a job half done. Elevate has finished but there are still lots of boarded-up houses in Accrington Road that need demolishing.
“The area looks a lot better than it did, but there is still lots to do. There are grassed areas waiting for development but the money has dried up.
“I must try and lobby government and development agencies to try and find money to finish the job. It would be fitting to leave a great legacy for Tony who did a lot of great work in Trinity.”