John Edward Hilton was for many years the town hall’s chairman of planning and after serving as first citizen, had the rare honour of being given the freedom of the borough.
Tributes were led by council leader David Molyneux who said: “The loss of Coun Hilton will be felt by the many people he made an impact on through his life, both personally and through his work.
“He championed the whole of Wigan borough, but Coun Hilton held a particular closeness to the Ashton and Golborne ward and its constituents, who he made it his life’s work to represent so passionately in his years as an elected member and as the borough’s 28th mayor. His legacy will live on for years to come and I wish to express my condolences to his close family and friends. He will be missed.”
Mr Hilton was educated in Golborne and went on to gain his City and Guilds in telecommunications at Wigan Technical College. His first job was as a messenger boy for the Post Office, but he soon graduated to work as an engineer out of the GPO’s Dorning Street premises. He retired as a special faults investigation officer after 41 years.
Mr Hilton’s political career began as a Post Office engineering union delegate to the Trades and Labour Council of Golborne. He was elected to Golborne Urban District Council in 1963, rising to become chairman for 1971/72. In 1974 local government was reorganised and he transferred to the new Wigan Metro, initially representing Abram and Golborne and subsequently the Ashton/Golborne ward.
He was its longest-serving chairman, holding the post from 1983 to 2000, and also served on the Education, Policy and Public Protection committees.
Other community involvement included membership of Lancashire Police Committee, the board of North West Water, the Environment Agency’s regional advisory committee and the Red Rose Forest initiative.
He was also a magistrate for 38 years, having been one of the area’s youngest justices when he started.
The funeral was taking place at St Thomas’s Church, Golborne, at 1pm on Wednesday, January 19 followed by committal at Wigan Crematorium. Family flowers only. Donations to the Stroke Association.
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