A former West Norfolk mayor and long-serving borough councillor, Michael Langwade, has died. He was 78 and had been battling ill-health for some time.
Mr Langwade, who served as a borough councillor for 16 years and held the civic office in 2003-4. He also served as deputy mayor in 2007-8.
First elected in 1991, he lost the seat four years later but returned to the council in 2003 and remained on the authority until ill-health forced him to step down at May’s elections.
But his son Rob said he had been determined to return to the political scene right up until his death on Monday.
He said: “He wanted to get out of hospital so he could get back into it. He wanted his laptop in there so he could carry on working.”
Mr Langwade’s partner, Christine Holding, said: “He loved King’s Lynn.”
She also recalled the occasion when, as mayor, he inspected the parade of personnel from RAF Marham as they exercised the base’s freedom of the borough.
She said: “While we were walking, Michael just happened to say ‘Where is the certificate’ and nobody had brought it.
“They had to get it from Marham and we had to go slowly so they could get it in time.
Born in Lynn in 1937, just 50 yards from where the council offices now stand, he attended what is now the King’s Lynn Academy and performed national service in the RAF.
Having begun his employment career in retail, he progressed into personnel management, where he specialised in training and safety work.
A professionally-trained singer, he was also an accomplished swimmer and a former member of the British Long Distance Swimming Association.
Civic leaders and former council colleagues have also paid tribute to Mr Langwade.
The borough’s current mayor, Colin Manning, said: “I was greatly saddened to hear that Michael had passed away and my thoughts are obviously with his partner Christine and his family at this time.
“I know that, as mayor and deputy mayor, he touched the lives of many people in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. He will be sorely missed.”
Council leader Nick Daubney added: “Michael was a well-known figure within the community having served as a councillor for many years, as well as being a former mayor and deputy mayor – a role he enjoyed immensely and one he felt gave him the opportunity to put something back into the community which had been his home all his life.”
As well as being a borough councillor, most recently for the Gaywood North Bank ward, Mr Langwade also served on Norfolk County Council for four years for the Gaywood South division, between 2009 and 2013.
Although he spent most of his political career in Conservative colours, he left the party’s borough group in November 2013.
He initially sat as an independent, before joining the UK Independence Party (UKIP) last December.
He was one of five councillors who made the switch at the time.
Former borough mayor Michael Pitcher, who was also a member of the UKIP group, said he had known Mr Langwade for almost 60 years, describing him as a “very astute man”.
He said: “He was a well respected man, a very honest man and he always had the best interest of the people of the borough at heart.
“He was a man of principles and he stuck to his principles, even if it meant everybody didn’t agree with him.”
Mr Langwade’s funeral will take place next Friday, July 31, at King’s Lynn Minster, starting at 1.30pm.
Family flowers only are requested with donations, if desired, for the Oxborough ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Minster itself.