Tributes paid after death of 'larger than life' Wigan councillor
A councillor hailed as "a true champion of the local community", who spent 10 years representing the area where he was born and bred, has died.
Conservative councillor Richard Clayton had represented the Orrell ward on Wigan Council since 2018, when he gained the seat from Labour.
He had previously served as a councillor in the same ward from 2004 to 2012.
Coun Clayton led many campaigns, such as a petition to keep Orrell waste recycling centre open, and served on a number of committees, including the planning committee.
Away from politics, he had spent time volunteering at Wigan Youth Zone and previously worked as a forklift regional service and sales manager.
As Dick Clayton, he was a national name between 1967 and 1972 as a rider in the booming British motocross scene.
He was a factory works scramble champion racer, touring around the UK and Europe, and was known as the Wigan Butcher as he worked in the family butchers in Orrell during the off-season.
Coun Clayton returned to the race track four years ago, when he took part in the Festival of Legends motorcross races at Shrewsbury’s famed Hawkstone Park circuit.
He died on Sunday, leaving his wife Marjorie and their family.
Coun Michael Winstanley, Conservative group leader and fellow ward councillor, said: “I am extremely sorry and sad to hear the news about Richard. Over the 10 years he served on the council, Richard was an extremely hard working and popular councillor. He was also well respected across all political parties in the council chamber, which has been borne out by the messages of condolences and tributes that have already been received.
"Richard was never happier than when helping people with their problems in the community of Orrell. He was a true champion of the local community having been born and bred in Orrell.
"Richard will be hugely missed, not only in the local community but also in the Conservative group on the council and in the party. Richard was a larger than life character and always had a really good sense of humour no matter how tough things got.
"Not only have I lost a ward colleague, I have also lost a friend and we will all miss him tremendously.
"The thoughts and prayers of the Conservative group and party locally are very much with Richard's wife Marjorie and the family as they come to terms with their loss.”
Leader of the council, Coun David Molyneux, said: “We are all deeply saddened by this tragic news.
“Personally, and on behalf of the council, I would like to pass on my condolences to Coun Clayton’s family and friends. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”
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