Tributes paid to former councillor George Speight described him as a ‘champion of Batley’.
Kirklees Council and Labour party leader Mehboob Khan said: “It’s very sad. “He was a trade unionist and a socialist who cared very deeply and passionately about residents in Batley. “In town hall debates he always spoke very passionately and debated with courage to fight the corner for Batley. “George was an excellent ambassador for Kirklees, he was one of the most active and prominent mayors that the district ever had. “On a personal note George was the chief whip when I became a councillor and he provided fantastic support for new councillors to help them learn the ropes on the council and avoid the pitfalls. “He was there when we needed any help and advice and was a rock and a pal for lots of us who were part of the 46-strong Labour group - his job was certainly cut out for him in those days. “I just want to say George has left a fantastic, lasting legacy from his time with Kirklees and its predecessor councils.”
Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood said: “I was very saddened to hear about George’s death, although I know he had been in ill health for some time. “George was a stalwart of the Labour party and for local councillors in Batley. “He helped thousands of people during his long career and will be greatly missed.”
Former Batley East councillor Ghulam Maniyar, who served from 1992-2004, said George was loyal to the people of Batley. He said: “He was a very hard working local councillor and he was a very friendly man and a family man. He was like a father figure to me. I think I have lost one of the best friends I have in Batley. He did a lot of work for the whole community and people will remember him for a long, long time. I will miss him.”