Heartfelt tributes paid to 'dedicated' and 'genuine' councillor

Coun David Townsley
Coun David Townsley

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a councillor described as a 'dedicated' and 'genuine' man by those he represented and worked with.

Family and friends of Coun David Townsley are coming to terms with the devastating news of his death on Tuesday.

Coun Iain Malcolm

Coun Iain Malcolm

The 43-year-old served the people of Cleadon and East Boldon after being elected in 2016 as a Labour representative. But despite his short stint as a councillor he quickly made an impression with his "dedication" to helping improve the lives of residents within the wards.

He was one of the main driving forces behind keeping East Boldon Library open, getting behind a team of volunteers who took on the running of the venue following council cash cuts.

As well as being a ward councillor, he also held the position of Chairman of the new Education and Skills Performance Panel, and had a keen interest in ensuring training opportunities were available for residents to match up with roles available and the promotion of entrepreneurship.

He also held the position of Chair of Governors at Hedworth Lane Primary School.

Leader of South Tyneside Council, Coun Iain Malcolm, said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Coun David Townsley who has been taken far too soon.

"David was a highly respected and popular member of South Tyneside Council who cared passionately about the Cleadon and East Boldon areas he represented.

"He was committed to making a difference to the lives of local residents and making a difference in his community. He will be remembered with great respect.

"Our hearts go out to David’s family and friends at this very sad time."

Les Watson, chairman of the East Boldon Library group, said: "We were all shocked and saddened at the news. We have been working hard to take over the library, so that it could remain open for residents, and David was very much a part of that.

"He was involved in the very early stages and was very enthusiastic and positive in his approach. He was particularly keen to help in terms of finding funding to ensure the library would remain open.

"He was a genuine man who had such enthusiasm. He had such a positive impact on those he came into contact with and was respected by so many. He will be such a big miss to us all."

Fellow councillor Joan Atkinson said: "David wasn't only a councillor, he had become a great friend of mine in the short time I knew him.

"He was very energetic, very positive and very devoted to his role as a councillor. He was always laughing - he was so genuine and so dedicated to getting the best for everyone. It's so sad, he has been taken far too soon. He will be a big miss to us all."