TRIBUTES have been paid to a former town mayor who has died aged 71.

Henry Nicholson, from Shildon, represented the town on Durham County Council and was also a member of the town council, becoming mayor in 2014.

The father-of-two, keen sportsman and staunch trade unionist died on Sunday.

His daughter Louise Mather, who is also a Shildon town councillor, alongside her twin Rachael Anderson, said: “He never stopped, he was always on the phone to someone.

The Northern Echo:

Henry and Pat Nicholson, pictured at their daughter Rachael's wedding

“He did it because he loved where he lived. He always lived in Shildon and he just wanted it be a good place for people to live and bring up their children.

“People might not have always agreed with his politics but he was a decent guy who would help people if he could.

“He was a lot of things to a lot of people but we were lucky he’s our dad.”

The former telephone engineer, who had recently received a long service award from the Labour party, was a member of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) until he retired in 2014 and was the chair of the North-East branch.

He was married to his wife Pat for 34 years, until her death in 2015, and has two grandsons, Harry and Elliot.

Cllr John Lethbridge, chairman of Durham County Council, said: “I had the pleasure of working alongside Henry for many years.

“Henry had a lovely manner and was very easy to get on with. In fact, I would go so far as to describe him as an outstanding person who was completely involved in his work and cared deeply about the communities he served.

“Henry was bright, knowledgeable, conscientious and understanding, and it is an honour to say he was my friend. I am very sad to lose him and my thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Mr Nicholson joined Shildon Town Council in 2008 and was elected to Durham County Council in 2013.

Tracey Bell, clerk for the town council. said Mr Nicholson had worked tirelessly for the community.

She added: “He was widely respected. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. He was a very valued member of the town council and we will miss him.”