TRIBUTES have been paid to long serving Selby councillor Jack Crawford, who died at the weekend.

Cllr Crawford, who was formerly the leader of the Labour party in Selby and former chairman of Selby District Council, had been receiving treatment for cancer and died this weekend at the age of 69.

Labour Councillor Steph Duckett said Cllr Crawford was "a very dear friend", well-respected by all parties in the town and district, and would be survived by his wife, Kath, children and grandchildren.

Cllr Duckett said: "I've known Jack for many, many years, through the Labour party then as councillors together. He was planning chairman, the best we had in years, and also council chairman. He did the circuit and was really well liked and respected across the board.

"I was absolutely stunned when I heard. He was a great councillor and not just one of those who would stand up and speak just to hear his own voice. Jack would really think about things."

Speaking when he regained his Fairburn with Brotherton seat in 2011, four years after losing it to the Conservatives, Cllr Crawford said: "It’s nice to get back representing people in the villages at that end of the district. We always feel on the edge and they need a strong voice. I hope I can be that voice."

Former leader of the Selby Labour Party and town councillor Steve Shaw-Wright knew Cllr Crawford for more than thirty years.

He said: "Jack was a proud Yorkshireman who, politically, always played a straight bat.

"Jack was also politically active within the Labour Party and played a key role in the election victories for Labour at District, County and Parliamentary campaigns. Labour has lost one of its long serving bedrock characters who will difficult to replace."

Council leader Mark Crane, said: "I’m deeply saddened by the news of Jack’s passing. He was a friend, and always someone who offered good advice. He will be greatly missed by all at the council, and our thoughts are with Jack’s family and close friends.

"During my time as council leader it has been a real pleasure to serve alongside Jack who worked tirelessly for the community."

Councillor Bob Packham, leader of the Labour Party in Selby, said Cllr Crawford was "a devoted family man and spoke often of his children and grandchildren of whom he was justifiably proud".

He said: "I know that there are those who are not part of the Labour Group who listened to what Jack had to say with respect because they knew he always spoke with conviction, and put forward what he believed. I will always remember his pleasure when he was re-elected as a councillor in 2011, and particularly when we teased him about the front page headline which simply said 'Jack’s back'.

"I will personally miss his help and encouragement, particularly during this last year as Leader of the Labour Group but also going back over twenty years."