Tributes paid to Labour stalwart

TRIBUTES have been paid to a “straight-forward and honest” Labour councillor who devoted his life to serving the people of Great Yarmouth.

Cecil Burrows, of Bradwell, died peacefully on October 31 aged 90.

Mr Burrows was first elected as a borough councillor for Magdalen ward in 1976 and served in various roles for three decades, including a period as leader of the council.

He had two sons, Stephen and Christopher, and his son Chris said they could not have asked for a better father.

He said: “Our father brought us up with the principles which he held to in his political life - honesty, fairness and equality.

“We are grateful for having inherited his values and are proud of all that he achieved. Dad will be greatly missed by us both.”

Over the years he ran many successful election campaigns for Labour MPs in Great Yarmouth, including for the borough’s former MP Tony Wright.

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“He was certainly very highly regarded,” said Mr Wright. “His experience at running campaigns was spot on and he was always the person I would go to for help.”

Mr Burrows’ first campaign success was in 1986 as agent for Labour MP Hugh Gray.

Labour won the Great Yarmouth seat with a 760 majority, and former engineer Mr Burrows went on to help Mr Wright hold the seat for three terms from 1997 to 2010.

He also met many influential Labour politicians at party conferences and Downing Street, including Tony Benn, and local party members say he will be sorely missed.

Trevor Wainwright, current leader of the borough’s Labour group, said: “I got to know Cecil back in the mid 1990s when I first became involved in local politics and he gave me a lot of advice and understanding about the workings of local government.

“He was a great help. He was quite a private man, politics was his life and he was heavily involved in the local community.

“He was on the ball right until the end - you could ask for his help and he was always forthcoming.”

He added Mr Burrows had worked for the Labour party since he was 16 and was one of the most knowledgeable people he had met.

“We were very saddened when we heard the news,” said Mr Wainwright. “He hadn’t been well but we didn’t expect it.”

Mr Burrows was chair of the governors at Oriel High School for about 30 years in addition to sitting on numerous council committees.

In his tenure as borough councillor these included committees on the royal visit in 1985, the marina centre special in 1986 and the scooter rally from 1986 to 1993.

Harry McGee, a labour councillor for Magdalen ward until 2004, said: “He was a very straight-forward, honest man.” His wife died when the boys were small. Funeral service is Gorleston Crematorium on Wednesday at 2.40pm.