Steve Holgate was reflecting on the life of former borough and county councillor Terry Brown, who passed away last Thursday (13th January).
Mr. Brown spent over 30 years as member of Chorley Council during two spells between 1986 and 1998 and from 2002 until May last year when he retired from his Chorley East seat. He also served on Lancashire County Council, representing the broader Chorley East division between 2009 and 2017.
Cllr Holgate described him as someone who was “always putting his residents first”.
“Terry used to work shifts – and then you’d see him out leafleting at six o’clock in the morning as soon as he got back. He really was very diligent.”
Mr. Brown served as mayor in the 2008/2009 municipal year, over a decade before Cllr Holgate stepped into the role. But the current mayor has revealed how he may never have come anywhere near elected office if it had not been for Terry Brown’s efforts to get him to switch political sides.
“Back in the early 1990s, I was in the Green Party – or the Ecology Party as it was called then – and I used to go to council meetings at Chorley and give the councillors a load of aggravation.
“I stood in a general and European election, but lost my deposit on both occasions. One night, Terry and [then councillor, now MP] Sir Lindsay Hoyle rounded on me in the Rose and Crown after a meeting and said: ‘Why are you spending all this time, effort and money when you’re not making any difference to Chorley?’
“And they persuaded me to join the Labour Party and helped me with my candidature. Terry supported me a lot in learning the craft [of local politics].
“One of the last things he really spoke out about was the environmental crisis – and that was a few years ago, before everybody was converted to the cause. Terry was very astute – he knew it was the right thing to do, but also, politically, that all parties had to get on board with the climate change agenda.
“So even though he diverted me away from the Greens, he certainly recognised the importance of the issue,” Cllr Holgate said.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he was saddened to learn of his former colleague's passing - and recalled his passion for the area he served.
"That was evident when you’d speak to people in his ward - they all knew Terry and recognised the fantastic commitment he’d made to the whole of Chorley, including during his time as mayor. My thoughts are with his family at this time - and he'll be missed by everyone," Sir Lindsay added.
The Labour leader of Chorley Council, Alistair Bradley, echoed the current mayor’s reflection on Terry Brown’s talent for mentoring others.
He added: “We are all shocked and terribly saddened by Terry’s sudden passing.
“Terry was an integral member of the Labour group for many, many years and was a real friend and mentor to so many people. He was always approachable and knew what local people wanted from the council
“Terry was also incredibly passionate about representing Chorley and was absolutely dedicated to doing the very best for local people.
“On behalf of the entire council, I would like to express our most sincere condolences to Terry’s family and close friends at this awfully sad time.”
Mr. Brown – who was a cabinet member at Chorley Council in 2012/13 and spent time as chair of County Hall’s audit, risk and governance committee – leaves behind a son, Adam, a young grandson, Roman, as well as his mother, Jean, and two sisters.
Paying tribute to his father, Adam said: “My dad was Chorley through and through and has helped this community grow over the decades, using his own spare time to help residents with odd jobs and doing a lot of work for charity.
“He was very well respected by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him and I’m proud that he was my dad.
“He is my hero, a devoted grandfather and the best man I ever met. He was my best friend, he was funny and he was straight to the point.
“He has left his mark on Chorley. He adored this town and only ever spoke fondly of it and its people. He will never be forgotten, I will make sure of that.
“Until we meet again, Brownie – I love you.”