Leslie Godfrey, councillor

Leslie Godfrey, who has died at 95, was a long-time councillor whose decades of public service earned him the title, Mr Sowerby Bridge.

Leslie Godfrey
Leslie Godfrey

A native of the town, he attended the then Bolton Brow Secondary School, leaving at 14 to begin work at the Bank Foundry of the textile engineer William Bates and Company.

A Labour man all his life, he became a member, then shop steward of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, eventually becoming president of the Sowerby Bridge and then Calderdale branches.

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Having joined the Labour Party in 1936, he fought his first election in 1959, becoming a member of Sowerby Bridge Urban District Council.

For many years he chaired the council’s highways, planning and general services committee, and sat on the further education committee.

As chairman of the council in 1967-8 he and his wife Edna, also a councillor, were invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace. They made a second trip in 1972, when Edna was council chairwoman.

One of hid proudest achievements came in 1972, when he persuaded the council to acquire the former Foundry Street Methodist Sunday School for £4,000 and convert it into a youth and community centre. Its lounge is named after him.

In April 2010, to mark more than 50 years of service to the town, Calderdale Council presented him with a citizenship award. He had earlier turned down the even more prestigious offer of the Freedom of the district, feeling he had not earned it.

Edna died in 1998, and Leslie is survived by their son, Barry.