'A great man who made a difference': Tributes paid to long-serving Normanton councillor Alan Wassell
Tributes have been paid to a popular and respected Labour councillor who died this weekend.
Alan Wassell, who represented Normanton on the town council and the district council, passed away on Saturday.
Councillor Wassell had served on Normanton Council for 33 years and was elected to represent the ward on Wakefield Council in 2012.
He had been suffering from an illness for a number of months.
Labour colleague Councillor Michael Graham was among the first to pay tribute to Coun Wassell on social media.
Coun Graham said: "He was a great man who made a huge difference to the people he represented.
"I will always appreciate the support and advice he gave me and will miss listening to his anecdotes. Thoughts are with his family and friends."
Coun Wassell remained active on a number of committees until the end of last year, scrutinising issues including policing, planning applications and council standards.
He was a prolific contributor to those meetings, often coupling his dry wit with a forensic and serious approach to the issues the council was dealing with.
Responding to hecklers at one planning meeting in 2019, who loudly proclaimed they "couldn't hear" proceedings, Coun Wassell retorted, "We can hear you all right".
The Wakefield constituency Labour Party offered its condolences on Facebook, saying: "R.I.P Alan, who worked tirelessly for his community. You will be sadly missed."
And Normanton Town Council said it was "deeply saddened" by the news.
"Alan was our longest serving councillor with 33 years service to the Town having been elected in 1987," a statement on the council's Facebook page said.
"Alan was the chairman of the allotments committee, and he was very passionate about protecting the allotments in our area.
"Our thoughts are with Alan's family at this difficult time."
Coun Wassell's seat on Wakefield Council had been due to be contested at this year's local elections, before they were postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus crisis.
Local Democracy Reporting Service