THE DEATH has been announced of Cllr Chris Blakeley, who served the ward of Moreton West and Saughall Massie as a Conservative councillor for nearly 20 years.

Cllr Blakeley, who was 69, was born and raised in West Kirby and but for a year spent working in Cornwall, had lived in Wirral for his whole life; the last 40 years as a resident of Moreton.

He spent 30 years working in the food industry before later serving as Head of Office for the MP, Esther McVey.

His responsibilities as a councillor since being first elected in May 2000 included chairing the environment overview and scrutiny committee, serving as a board member of both Wirral Partnership Homes and Merseytravel and as cabinet member for housing during the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition which led Wirral Council between 2010-11.

Conservative group leader Cllr Ian Lewis said: “Chris and I hit it off on the first day we met – he was fighting a planning application near his home in Moreton and, when I suggested that he’d be a great candidate, he didn’t hesitate.  Little did I know then how good he would actually be.

“For the next 20 years, he fought every subsequent issue with the same level of enthusiasm and commitment, working tirelessly for Moreton and Saughall Massie and anyone whose voice he felt was being ignored by the powers that be. 

“He was in incredible ally to have on your side and a formidable opponent to others, whether that was Labour councillors or senior officers of the council. 

“Not only did he turn a formerly marginal Labour ward into a Conservative ward but he also helped others – including my own win in Leasowe some years later; none of which would have happened without Chris.

“That’s why he was elected time and time again – people on doorsteps across Moreton would frequently name him as the reason they were voting for us.

“People recognised and valued his commitment and they repaid it by making Chris Moreton’s longest serving councillor, often with the biggest vote. 

"He was undoubtedly the best councillor Moreton has ever had.   

“On behalf of the Conservative group, and the residents of Moreton and Saughall Massie, we send our condolences to Sandra and Stephanie and my gratitude for the last 20 wonderful years that I fortunate to share with him.”

Paying tribute to Cllr Blakeley, council chief executive Paul Satoor said: "It is clear that Chris Blakeley embodied the ideals of a public servant, giving selflessly of his time and commitment to his ward and to Wirral.

"He was a tireless campaigner on behalf of his constituents on a range of issues, including protecting the green belt and parks and open spaces, protecting and enhancing local leisure services, including public parks and libraries and campaigning for affordable housing to give local young people the best opportunity to get onto the housing ladder.

"I know that he was held in very high regard by councillors from all political parties and his loss will be felt particularly keenly among his friends and colleagues from the local Conservative group, who he had served as their chief whip until recently.

"On behalf of officers and staff across Wirral Council, I would like to express our sincerest condolences to all of Chris’s family and friends at this time, in particular his wife Sandra and daughter Stephanie."