Labour battler held balance of council power

Bert Jones
Bert Jones
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Councillors, family and friends will pay a final tribute tomorrow to former councillor Bert Jones, who once single-handedly held the balance of power on Ribble Valley Borough Council.

The funeral of Mr Jones, who died aged 93 in hospital after suffering a stroke, will be held at Trinity Methodist Church, Clitheroe, where he had been a lifelong member, followed by cremation at Accrington.

A Labour councillor for nearly 30 years on the borough council and later Clitheroe Town Council, Mr Jones hit the headlines after the borough elections in 1995, when the Tories and Liberal Democrats had equal seats.

“Everybody on the council wanted to be his friend and he enjoyed being in that position,” said Mrs Christine Wilson, one of his two daughters.

She added: “We’re very proud of what dad did for the community. He always had time to deal with problems that people brought to him, whether it was their council house or stray dogs and dog mess.”

Mr Jones had worked at Waterloo Mill during the top-secret wartime jet engine project, and later worked for Castle Castings then ICI.

In 1973 in the ICI wages office he was threatened, bound and gagged by a shotgun-wielding robber.

He had been a member of Clitheroe Cricket Club and Clitheroe Golf Club, a school governor of Edisford Primary, Clitheroe Royal Grammar and Ribblesdale Nursery, and a supporter of local drama.

Honoured as a Burgess and an Alderman, he still followed council matters and attended mayor-making ceremonies.

In recent years, he had been living at Abbeyfields’ Castle View House, which he had campaigned to have built.