Tributes paid after death of 'larger than life' Wigan councillor
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.”
A message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:
Thank you for reading this story on our website.
But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy when you pop out for your essential shop or subscribing for delivery.
Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.
As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: "Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role."
But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.
We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE:
You can subscribe for delivery by contacting us at [email protected] or calling us on 0330 4033004 for details of a participating newsagent near you.