Tributes have been paid to a long-serving Trafford councillor who has sadly died.

Coun Ray Bowker, who was first elected in 1973 and served on almost all of the council's committees during his time as a councillor, represented Village ward in Timperley as an independent member.

He was Trafford’s mayor during the millennium year and raised more than £71,000 for two local charities – Trafford Young Carers Project and Trafford Crossroads – during his time as civic leader.

In 2002, Coun Bowker was awarded an MBE for a lifetime of service to the community, which he described at the time as “absolutely the greatest honour of my life.”

A lifelong Timperley resident, he served on many school governing bodies including his former school, Wellington.

He was chairman of the governors at Broomwood Primary School in Timperley at the time of his death.

He also served for more than 40 years in the Boys Brigade, 7 Altrincham Company at Timperley Methodist Church.

Coun Bowker, 83, was the Liberal Democrat leader for many years before becoming an Independent after last May’s local elections.

Council leader, Coun Andrew Western, described Coun Bowker as a "giant in Trafford politics".

He said: "Ray was a long-standing councillor who served the council with distinction and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

"He was honest, dedicated and caring, and always wanted the best for the people he represented and for Trafford as a whole.

"While we were not in the same party we worked closely together.

"He was a trusted friend and adviser and I held him in the highest regard. When Ray spoke people listened and Trafford has lost one of its best councillors.

"He had a lifelong commitment to helping young people in the borough and was passionate about wanting to improve their lives.

"My thoughts are with his wife Hazel, his children and grandchildren and all his family and friends at this sad time."

On Twitter, Coun Western added: "I’m so sad about this news. Ray and I had talked about his illness a lot over the past 10 months or so but this was very quick.

"But at least it was swift and peaceful in the end. Ray was a giant in Trafford politics and someone I called a friend and will miss terribly."

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