Tributes have been paid to a “local legend” and stalwart of the Labour party who has died.

David Walsh, former leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council, died on Wednesday (July 20) at the age of 73.

Members of the Labour party have paid tribute to the long-serving member, who had served on Cleveland County Council before it was abolished and was later part of Redcar and Cleveland Council, becoming leader in 1999.

He was described as a true intellect, passionate public servant and friend to many. He was known for his deep roots in the community, as someone with a voracious appetite for knowledge and for his love of Teesside’s history.

Read more: Darlington to host Tory leadership debate between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss

He also ran the office of former Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP Ashok Kumar.

He lost his council seat in 2003, but was re-elected in 2013 and served until 2019. 

People from across the area have paid tribute to Mr Walsh following his decades of dedicated service.

Labour’s current group leader in Redcar, Cllr Alec Brown said: "I met David for the first time in 2014, he was in the middle of dissecting a council report during a Labour Group meeting I was observing. I remember being immediately struck with the level of intelligence David was blessed with.

The Northern Echo: David WalshDavid Walsh

“I am honoured to have served on the same cabinet as David during the last Labour administration and will always be grateful for the advice he gave me quite a few times. I have never met a person like him, a true intellect, a Labour stalwart, a passionate public servant and above all a nice genuine man that we will always miss."

Former Redcar MP Anna Turley recalled his fiendish pub quizzes, his love of reading and deep knowledge of the community.

“It’s really sad. He was part of the furniture,” she said. “I first met him when I was put forward to be selected and I met him in the pub at Boosbeck. He was sat in the corner with a big pile of the Sunday newspapers and he was reading them with a magnifying glass as he always did. He was an institution in that pub. Everyone knew him. He was very visible. People would see him on the bus and out and about.

“He was just a great guy to be around. His intellect was phenomenal. He was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met and he was so well read; every government announcement and policy, national, regional or local. He would devour it.

 “He had great local knowledge, He could talk for hours about local history and heritage. He knew the community inside out.”

She added: “He was quite a character. The Labour party was his family. We are his family and his friends.”

Read more: Nigel Farage visiting the North East today for show - and the tickets are £1.50

Long serving councillor Lynn Pallister, who worked alongside David for many years, said: "A very sad loss for the community and the Labour party. The Labour Party and serving his community was what Dave lived for.

“Dave dedicated his political career to helping those most vulnerable in society.”

Former group leader, Cllr Carl Quartermain said." Such sad news and a huge loss to all who knew him. Dave was one of a kind, immensely intelligent with a sharp wit. Not only knowledgeable he was always in the know, craving the for the latest news, political maneuverings and topical issues.

“He was a great servant and ambassador to the Labour movement and was still very active on local care issues right to the end.”

Read more: Tory MP 'regrets' not attending meeting after kids spotted climbing 80ft attraction

The Northern Echo: David Walsh, former leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council Picture: THE NORTHERN ECHODavid Walsh, former leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council Picture: THE NORTHERN ECHO

A spokesperson for Redcar and Cleveland Council said: “It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of David Walsh.

“David was a great public servant to the residents of our borough, serving as a ward councillor, as leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and most recently as Cabinet member for Adults until 2019.

“He will be greatly missed by fellow members and staff, along with all the people whose lives he made better.”


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Teesside Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054