Tributes paid to former Wakefield councillor

Normanton councillor Barry Smith.
Normanton councillor Barry Smith.

Tributes have been paid to a former Wakefield councillor and mayor of Normanton, who died last month.

Barry Smith, who was leader of Normanton Town Council for 25 years, forged a reputation as a dedicated public servant and passionate voice for the district’s mining communities.

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper said Coun Smith’s legacy can be seen in Normanton, “wherever you go”.

She praised his role in securing a new swimming baths for the town, after gale-force winds tore the roof of the old facility off in 1999.

Ms Cooper said: “We remembered his warmth, his chuckle, but also his stubborn determination.

“That stubborn persistence was how he and I worked together to get the investment for the new school building in Normanton Common in the first year of the Labour government in 1997.

“And of course it was how Barry and the town council over many years managed to save, plan, bid and lobby to get Normanton Baths.”

At a full Wakefield Council meeting on Wednesday, leader Peter Box praised Coun Smith’s “passion” for local government.