Sudden death of council leader
NORTH Somerset Council leader and 'one of the most likeable men you will ever have the privilege of knowing' has died suddenly
NORTH Somerset Council leader and 'one of the most likeable men you will ever have the privilege of knowing' has died suddenly.Councillor Alan Hockridge, aged 62, was campaigning for the forthcoming elections around North Worle on Saturday morning. He walked home and died just after reaching his house.Tributes to the Liberal Democrat group leader, who lived in Jocelin Drive, Worle, have been flooding in.Colleague and friend Cllr John Crockford-Hawley said: "He died as he had lived, working for the benefit of his fellow citizens. "His untimely passing has shocked the political world, not just in Weston and North Somerset, but across the whole South West. "Though not a natural orator or smooth political operator, he held both his Liberal Democrat party and the wider council together with a genuine desire to see fair play at all times. He abhorred pomposity, self aggrandisement and the two-faced games of party politics. "Alan had natural warmth of character, was compassionate, kind and generous."Alan was elected to Avon County Council in 1993 and the former Woodspring District Council a year later. He began to lead the Liberal Democrat group on North Somerset Council after the surprise defeat of former leader Cllr Nan Kirsen and for the past two rather turbulent years has been leader of North Somerset Council with its mixture of coalition administrations. His main political interest lay in the realm of economic and tourism development and he was a popular and gregarious participant at many social and charitable events throughout the area. He was also an active participant in Regional Assembly and sub-regional government proceedings.A retired bank manager with Lloyds TSB, he retained a life-long passion for sport, particularly rugby and cricket and was well known at the Hornets Rugby Football Club in Weston. Cllr Hockridge leaves a wife, Carol, daughter Sarah and husband James, and one-year-old granddaughter Olivia.Funeral details will be announced at a later date. * Deputy leader Cllr Muriel Kraft will take over as leader of North Somerset Council until the election on May 3. Cllr Hockridge's North Worle seat will now not be contested until a by-election takes place in June.