TRIBUTES have been paid to a tireless campaigner and “inspiration to many” who has died aged 79.

Middlesbrough councillor June Goodchild died at home on Tuesday after a battle with cancer.

The former chairman of the Easterside Partnership, who was a councillor for Ladgate, was made an MBE in 2007 for her voluntary work on the estate. She began giving up her time in the mid-1990s in response to trouble and a lack of facilities for youngsters.

Her achievements included a successful campaign for CCTV cameras, reducing anti-social behaviour and school absenteeism as well as the development of the successful Eco Easterside project.

She was elected in 2015 and last year moved from Labour to the Middlesbrough Independent Group.

Politics beckoned in 2015 when she was elected as a Labour member for Ladgate – and she retained her seat in 2019.

Praise for her warmth and hard work have poured in from politicians across the spectrum on news of her passing.

First elected as a Labour councillor, she joined the Middlesbrough Independent Group (MIG) last year.

MIG leader Cllr Antony High said: "Having known June for many years, I watched her serve the people of her ward and Middlesbrough with pride. She was an inspiration to many and was always ready to help anyone who needed her support."

“On behalf of all MIG members, we send our heartfelt condolences to Malcolm and June’s family at this very difficult time.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said he visited June recently at her bedside.

He added: “Although June was heavily medicated we talked a little and she reached out and held my hand until I left.

“That little gesture of reaching out and holding hands was typical of June’s warmth and her constructive directness – both lovely and effective character traits that have touched so many lives in Easterside and beyond.

“June had a lovely family who will miss her – and we all will.

“Thank you June for being part of our lives, it was a privilege to know you.”

Malcolm, her husband of 56 years, met June while she was working on United buses.

He said he was a “very lucky man” to have known her. He added: “People used to ring her asking for help and she was there like a flash. She knew all the right people because they all had respect for her. She got things done.”

In 2002, June was nominated for the Evening Gazette community champions award by environmental charity Groundwork for all her efforts in trying to regenerate her area.

She was also the force behind bus trips to Flamingo Land for countless Easterside youngsters.

“She kicked that off,” said Malcolm.

“A generation of kids on Easterside had never been anywhere.

“She won money from an award and that’s what it went towards.

“They all went to Flamingo Land – they hadn’t had anything like that before in their lives.”

Mr Goodchild said June passed away peacefully at home with her family around her.

Cllr Mick Saunders, leader of the Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association (MICA), was saddened at the loss of a family friend.

“She was a lovely lady and a really passionate councillor for the area she represented,” he added.

“I knew her personally – I had family in Easterside who knew June very well.

“It’s a very sad time personally and professionally. Our prayers and condolences go to her family on behalf of myself and the MICA group.”

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald was also sorry to hear of Cllr Goodchild’s death.

The Labour MP added: “I knew June for many, many years – she was utterly committed to serving her community and making a positive difference for people.

“Her dedication was recognised and appreciated by many. I send my sincere condolences to June’s family and friends.”


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