Tributes to 'Mr Harton' continue after loss of 'loyal, dedicated and honest' South Shields councillor Rob Dix
Councillor Rob Dix, who had served as a South Tyneside councillor for more than two decades, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
The Labour councillor was elected to the Harton Ward in 1999 and served residents in the area right up to his death.
As chair of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Coordinating and Call-in Committee he also steered the scrutiny function of the council, helping to hold health services to account.
In an official announcement from the borough council earlier this week, several senior councillors paid tribute to Cllr Dix.
This included councillor Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council, and councillor Pat Hay, ward colleague and Mayor of South Tyneside.
At a meeting of the council’s East Shields and Whitburn Community Area Forum (CAF) on Thursday, February 10, a one-minute silence was held for Cllr Dix.
Several councillors and members of partner agencies on the CAF also paid their own tributes at the meeting.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council and ward representative for Whitburn and Marsden, remembered Cllr Dix’s passion, personality and support over the years.
Noting his “loyalty, dedication and honesty,” the council leader added the local authority and wider residents of South Tyneside had “lost a huge huge personality in Rob Dix.”
Cllr Dixon went on to say: “He was caring and he was passionate and he fought for the residents not just for Harton but for the residents of this borough.
“I have to say, his smile and his personality will be sadly missed by so many within the council and so many of our partners, in particular the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Foundation Trust, because Rob was very passionate about health and delivery of health services in our borough.
“From a leader’s perspective but also as a personal friend of Rob, I’m so saddened to be here today talking about Rob because he was taken so suddenly from us.
“My heart goes out to his wife Karen and all of the family.”
Councillor Neil Maxwell, ward councillor for Harton, also paid tribute to his ward colleague.
“Rob was our friend and our colleague and he was a Harton lad through and through, in fact you could probably say now he was Mr Harton,” he said.
“We all miss him and we all will miss him and in fact I miss him already for his advice and support.”
A Northumbria Police representative at the meeting said Cllr Dix was a “great local partner who did a lot for the ward.”
Trevor Sturrock, station manager at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, also paid tribute.
He said: “I would like to offer, from the fire service, condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Cllr Dix.
“I certainly didn’t know him personally but just listening to the people talk tonight, he was obviously a greatly admired and well-respected man.”
Councillor Alexander Donaldson, chair of the CAF, added: “I’m sorry the meeting is such a sad occasion, Cllr Dix will certainly be missed.”
The borough flag will be flown at half-mast at South Shields Town Hall as a mark of respect and will stay in place until after Cllr Dix’s funeral.