Tributes paid to 'well-liked and respected' former Hebburn councillor Joe Abbott
Tributes have been paid to a “well-liked and respected” councillor who served South Tyneside residents for more than a decade.
Joe Abbott, a former ward councillor for Hebburn North, passed away peacefully in early November 2021, aged 72.
Originally elected to South Tyneside Council as a Liberal Democrat, Mr Abbott also served as an independent in later years.
At several council meetings in November, colleagues paid tribute to the former councillor’s standing within the local community.
During a recent meeting of full council at South Shields Town Hall, a one-minute silence was held in remembrance.
Labour councillor Richard Porthouse, chairing the meeting, also paid personal tributes to his former ward colleague.
Cllr Porthouse said: “It’s my sad duty to inform members of the death of former councillor Joe Abbott, who served as a Liberal Democrat councillor for the Hebburn North ward, formerly the Hebburn Quay ward, from 1998 to 2012.
“Joe had many roles within the council including Audit Committee chair from 2010-2012.
“Joe was a very well-liked and respected councillor in the Hebburn North ward, which I also represent.
“Joe was a great help to me when I first became a councillor and even though we represented different parties, when it came to the ward, the town or the borough, we were never in opposition.
“The residents were always first and foremost to us and I feel we could all learn a lot from Joe’s actions.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
More tributes were paid at a meeting of the council’s Hebburn Community Area Forum (CAF).
Labour councillor Wilf Flynn, chair of Hebburn CAF, said: “Joe was a councillor in the Hebburn North ward and was a councillor for quite a while and liaised very well with all of the Hebburn councillors.
“What stands out to me about Joe, apart from the fact that I knew him before, was in 2010 when the [government] coalition came in with the Liberals and the Conservatives.
“Joe stood up in the council chamber and he had a standard statement from his head office and he said I’m not prepared to read it out.
“Then he stood as an individual and commented on the council’s budget at the time and was very supportive of it.
“After that day, he remained an independent councillor because he didn’t agree with the coalition.
“I appreciate the work that he did, he is well appreciated […] and his family have been told how well-known and respected he was.”
A public obituary described Joe Abbott as a “devoted and much loved husband,” “treasured dad” and “adored granda.”
At his funeral servce last month, donations were welcomed for the Alzheimer’s Society charity.