A FORMER council leader who gave ‘enormous public service’ to Warrington has died.

Labour’s Burtonwood and Winwick borough councillor Cllr Terry O’Neill, who was in his early 70s, passed away on Sunday night after a short illness.

He started his political career as a parish councillor in 1983.

The politician formally retired from his role as leader in December last year – around seven years after taking on the post.

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr O’Neill leaves a striking legacy after guiding Warrington through key components of its ambitious regeneration plans.

The dad-of-two described being leader in his hometown as the ‘best job in the world’.

In November last year, he said: “I used to walk past this Town Hall and never used to think that I would be the leader in it one day.

“My grandparents and parents would be made up – it’s a pity they are not here to see that I was the leader of a council in a town which I’m very proud of and passionate about.”

Among his achievements, he was keen to highlight the ‘economic renaissance’ of the borough, keeping council tax rates one of the lowest in the north west and rejuvenating parks and community centres.

Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “Terry was a wonderful servant to his town and I will fondly remember his unwavering loyalty and passion for Warrington, as well as his daily commitment to making our borough a better place for everyone.

“He has helped steer us through austerity, was a driving force behind regeneration including Omega and the Time Square development and, regardless of politics, was a real champion for Warrington and our communities. He always wanted to do his best for our town - he made a massive contribution and it was an honour to be his friend and colleague.

“My thoughts are with Terry’s family and our best wishes and condolences are with them all today and in the days ahead.”

Warrington Guardian:

The flag at the Town Hall is flying at half-mast today.

Cards of condolence can be sent to the Town Hall, Sankey Street, care of Professor Steven Broomhead, the council’s Chief Executive.

Council chief executive Steven Broomhead said: “He gave enormous public service to the town over the past few years.”

Cllr O’Neill was a big Warrington Wolves fan and served as chair of the board of trustees of the Warrington Wolves Charitable Foundation, as well as a trustee of the London Marathon Charitable Trust and chair of the North West Coalfields Communities Regeneration Programme.

Warrington Guardian: