WIGAN’S mayor is in mourning after the shock death of her husband and consort.
Terry Cullen, whose wife Phyll became the borough’s first citizen in May, was suddenly taken ill at their Beech Hill home on Thursday evening and pronounced dead later at Wigan Infirmary.
Deputy mayor Coun Susan Loudon will now represent the mayor at council functions until further notice.
Tributes today poured in from across the local political divide.
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue said that she was “very sad” to learn of Terry’s passing.
She said: “He was a gentle and kind man, down-to-earth, warm and fiercely proud of Phyll and he engaged and impressed everyone he met.
“I know that Terry was really enjoying his time as consort which makes the news of his passing all the more distressing.
“My thoughts are with Phyll and the family at this difficult time.”
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said: “Terry was such a kind soul but he also had a really wicked sense of humour and I will always remember him with a smile.
“He was a great support for Phyll, and like so many people across Wigan, my thoughts are with her and the family at this difficult time.”
Former Tory mayor of Wigan, Michael Winstanley, said that he had got to know Terry while working on the mayor’s charity.
He said: “I knew Terry well and met him at many different functions. He always had time for people and was a thoroughly nice man. Our thoughts and prayers are with Phyll and her family at this sad time and I hope that councillors from all side of the Council chamber will rally round Phyll and provide the support that she needs.”
Wigan Council leader Lord Smith said: “We are all shocked and saddened by the sudden death of the mayor’s consort, Mr Terry Cullen.
“During the first months of the mayorality, Terry had been a great support for his wife, attending events with her and taking some of the burden from her.
“I observed how well Terry coped with his responsibilities on the recent visit to our twin town.
Terry was excited by his first ever trip abroad and enjoyed the atmosphere in Angers so much that he talked of returning when their year of office had ended.
“Our condolences go out to the mayor and to the immediate family and friends.
“In these difficult circumstances, it has been decided to postpone the Mayor’s Ball until the spring to allow us to spend the appropriate time celebrating the life of Terry Cullen.”
The mayor met her husband Terry – a born and bred Wiganer – though a mutual friend.
They had been married for more than 45 years.
He is survived by their daughter Trish and son John who were very close, both living and working nearby.
Coun Cullen was first elected to represent Wigan West, the ward she has lived in since 1976, in 2007.
She has taken on many different challenges during her council service including planning committee, licensing and regulation committee, confident places scrutiny committee and audit and governance committee, as well as being an active member of the access committee.
The mayor is also involved in the Friends of Menses Park Committee, Book Cycle and is a member of St Andrew’s Parochial Church Council among other groups.