Former Councillor Fred Lawton 13/06/1942 -19/05/2021 RIP
Fred had been active in politics for quite some time. He had been a member
of the Labour Party for a good part of his adult life, but became disillusioned
with the party and left.
In 2003 he joined the Liberal democrats and becameactive immediately, both on the local party executive and in campaigning.
In August 2004 Fred stood and won in the by-election in North Road Ward - he beat the then future MP for Darlington (Jenny Chapman) by over 200 votes! This was something he was immensely proud of.
He immediately started working hard in the ward along with Steve Jones and Sue Walker, and soon got the reputation of getting things done - which some residents still thank us for.
He made friends with quite a few of the residents too - we have met many since 2019, and they still remember Fred fondly and ask after him; we know that this loss will affect them deeply.
In 2007, when Sue Walker had stepped down and Mike Barker was elected, Fred became the key person to get the group working together and growing the reputation of the Lib Dems working hard in North Road Ward. He was involved in the Local Partnership group and worked with the members on the Partnership to get money and events going in the ward. He was incredibly involved in the North Riverside Residents Association and was also a governor at Harrowgate Hill School for several years.
He never did anything by halves - he wanted to represent the residents of North Road Ward to the best of his ability, and he did. His determination to make sure residents were kept informed meant that many Focus newsletters were worked on while Fred was a Councillor.
In 2008 he was key in the running of a by-elections in the ward and Anne-Marie Curry was elected together with Alan Macnab. He stood in one more election in 2015 and was disappointed when we were reduced to 2 Councillors.
During the next 4 years Fred had several health issues and was extremely disappointed he could not be as active in the ward as he would have wished.
In 2019, after more than 14 years of working as a Councillor in North Road, he made the exceedingly difficult to step down. For him it was the right decision and on 19 May 2021 we got the sad news that he had passed away peacefully at St Theresa's Hospice.
We all pay our respects and are thankful to have known and worked with Fred who played Devil's Advocate brilliantly and was a TRUE gentleman.
He is, and will be for a long time, greatly missed.