Memorial bench to honour council leader

BENCH MARK: Memorial bench for Lawrence Conlon.
BENCH MARK: Memorial bench for Lawrence Conlon.

Family and colleagues of the late council leader Lawrence Conlon gathered at a poignant service to unveil a bench in his memory.

The former fire authority chairman passed away aged 86 in 2011, and a memorial bench has been placed close to Batley Town Hall.

The tribute was unveiled on Thursday afternoon in front of dozens who knew the “determined and passionate” Labour stalwart.

Coun Mehboob Khan, leader of Kirklees Council, said: “Lawrence was the best loved son of Batley.

“He took the council through a difficult time in the 1980s and his legacy can be seen around Batley today.”

Mr Conlon’s partner of 18 years, Avril Hooson, bought the bench to pay tribute to his work.

She said: “People said to me we should have something in Batley. I’m taken aback by the turnout and it shows the impact he had.”

The service was preceded by tea and biscuits at Batley Town Hall, where people shared their memories of the former Batley councillor.

Mr Conlon’s political career spanned 36 years and he was first elected to the old Batley Borough Council in 1964.

He continued to represent Batley West after the creation of Kirklees in 1974.

Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood said: “He was a determined and passionate Batley man who represented the best in the public services.

“He committed himself to the community he was born in and wanted the best for it.”