A FORMER soldier, who has been selected to fight a South Tyneside ward for Labour, has paid a warm tribute to his political predecessor.
Bob Watters, who represented the West Park ward in South Shields, died last month.
Norman Dick, a former soldier with the Durham Light Infantry, emerged triumphant at a selection meeting in the town’s Ede House.
School governor Mr Dick, of Bainbridge Avenue, Simonside, South Shields, said he was honoured to have been chosen to carry Labour’s standard into the May election.
However, he expressed sadness at the circumstances surrounding the cause of the vacancy.
A delegate to the monthly Town Hall meeting of Labour councillors, he witnessed at first hand Mr Watter’s “compassion and enthusiasm” for West Park.
He said: “He always impressed me with his knowledge and commitment to the ward.
“He will be an extremely tough act to follow, but I am looking forward to the challenge and working with my colleagues Gladys Hobson and Joyce Welsh, from whom I will have so much to learn.”
Mr Dick said one of his main priorities would be to ensure new housing was built on the vacant West Way site in the ward, a project that had been close to Bob Watter’s heart.
He added: “I know he fought hard to have the site cleared and lobbied for new housing to be built on the site.
“I shall be working with councillors Hobson and Welsh to ensure this scheme becomes a success.”