A COUNCILLOR of more than 50 years has service has died just days after he was elected vice-chairman of Durham County Council.

Cllr Robin Todd MBE died in hospital on Saturday (May 23) aged 74, just three days after being made the authority’s vice-chairman.

He had been a Labour councillor for 51 years, the Robin Todd Community Centre in South Hetton was named in his honour and he would have become council chairman next year.

Council leader Simon Henig described him as a remarkable councillor and community leader with an ability to bring people together and build consensus.

Chairman Jan Blakey added: “Robin was a wonderful person and political colleague.

“It is so sad that he passed away before he could enjoy his year as vice-chairman and chair thereafter.

“We will miss him dearly and our thoughts are with his wife Sheila and family.”

An electrician by trade, he entered politics through trade unionism and was elected to Easington Rural District Council in 1964, aged 23.

Cllr Todd was national agent to the renowned Labour MP and minister Manny Shinwell and chaired Easington District Council in 1976-77.

He helped raise £750,000 to build the community centre that was named after him and in 2006 was made an MBE for service to local government.

Cllr Todd was elected to represent Shotton and South Hetton on Durham County Council in 2008 and served as a cabinet support member.

He is survived by his wife Sheila, two children and one grandchild.