Obituary: Mike Bower, former Sheffield council leader

Mike Bower, who has died at 77, was a former journalist and leader of Sheffield Council.

Mike Bower

A civil engineer by training, he was elected a city councillor in 1972 and served for 26 years, the last six as leader.

He set in motion the Heart of the City scheme, which brought to Sheffield the modern Peace Gardens, the Winter Garden, St Paul’s Place and the Millennium Gallery, and he presented Nelson Mandela with the Freedom of the city.

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He was also instrumental in developing Sheffield’s Supertram and in creating the business centre at Ailzlewood’s Mill on Nursery Street, which was a derelict eyesore when he bought it for £1 and secured a grant to renovate it.

“The economic regeneration he helped bring about is there for people to see today and that is he best tribute you can give him,” said the former Sheffield MP Richard Caborn.

Mr Bower had begun his career on Mechanical Handling magazine before he moved to the old Morning Telegraph in Sheffield in the 1960s, as labour correspondent.

A keen walker and runner, he competed 10 marathons and walked the Pennine Way to celebrate his 60th birthday.

He is survived by his wife, Frances Homewood, and by two daughters from a previous marriage.