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Newcastle pays tribute to George Cairns

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Newcastle today pays tribute to local community hero George Cairns.

George was a driving force in keeping the area's mining legacy burning brightly, and was instrumental in fighting for regeneration projects to improve the area after mining ended in the Borough.

George was a well-known figure in North Staffordshire and in addition to his mining legacy work, also served two long stints on Newcastle Borough Council. George was a dedicated union man and used his NCB contacts to stop plans to "gassify" the remaining coal seams under Silverdale which would have put so many houses and lives at risk.

He was first elected in 1979 and served continuously for 20 years, during which time he was made Newcastle mayor.

George returned as a councillor in 2010, representing the Silverdale and Parksite ward until May of this year.

Newcastle MP Paul Farrelly said: "I've known George for over 20 years. He was a stalwart of his local community and put his heart and soul into improving things for people in Silverdale and Parksite.

"He will be sadly missed, but the regeneration of the Silverdale Colliery site and the new clubhouse for Silverdale Athletic Football Club will always stand as a tribute to his memory."

George hosted former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott ealier this year at the opening of new sport and community facilities on part of the old Silverdale Colliery site - a major investment in community facilities that was a direct result of his hard campaigning for the people of the village.

The site, where George had spent many years working, was overhauled as part of a multi-million-pound regeneration scheme supported by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. Labour Borough councillors are looking at an appropriate and lasting tribute to George, that reflects the hard work and dedication he showed the people of Silverdale.

Former mayor of Kidsgrove, Councillor Kyle Robinson, said: "I was so sorry to hear that fellow Labour comrade George Cairns has passed away.

"He was a true working class hero for the people of Newcastle.

"It's such a shame. He hadn't been well for some time, but he was a cracking bloke and councillor."

 

George O'Kane Cairns (1948-2014) - a true working class hero.

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