TRIBUTES have been paid to a former mayor who served his community for more than 40 years.

Alderman Cliff Hutchinson passed away at home on Friday (January 24) at the age of 90 He represented Cockerton on Darlington Borough Council and the former County Borough Council, retiring in 2007.

Later that year, he was given the title of Honorary Alderman, in recognition of the service he gave to both the council and the people of Darlington.

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He was mayor in 1974/75, having previously been chairman of the shadow authority as the council prepared for local government reorganisation in the 1970s.

His experience was called upon again when the council became a unitary authority in 1997.

Daughter Carol Denham described her father as a dedicated family man and committed public servant.

She said: “In a sense, I shared my Dad with the people of Cockerton, because the house was used as a sort of ward surgery.

“He had a very, very full and active life, supported by my mother, Louisa, until she died ten years ago.”

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman was elected to the council seat Alderman Hutchinson vacated upon his retirement.

She described the great-grandfather as a ‘class act’, adding: “Cliff was very helpful when I joined the council, he steered me in the right direction.

“He loved Darlington, Cockerton in particular, and he dedicated his life to serving his local community.

“Cliff was a councillor for 44 years – that length of public service is rare and he will be fondly remembered.”

Alderman Hutchinson was chairman of Darlington’s housing committee for several years and is credited with ensuring that high-rise flats were not built in the town.

His name can be seen around the town, on plaques adorning buildings he opened – particularly accommodation for elderly people.

Alderman Hutchinson was a magistrate and served on a number of committees, as well as national and regional bodies, including YMCA and the National Housing and Town Planning Council.

Council leader Bill Dixon sat on the housing committee with Alderman Hutchinson during the 1980s and 1990s.

He said: “Darlington owes Cliff a huge debt, he was the last of that generation.”

A civic funeral for Alderman Hutchinson will take place on Monday, February 10, at 10am, at St Augustine’s Church.