Tributes have been paid following the death of long-serving councillor and a former Lord Mayor of Bradford, Stanley King, at the age of 80.

Mr King, who worked at Salts Mill until its closure, served for almost 40 years on Bradford Council as a Conservative representative for Heaton until his retirement in 2008.

He leaves a sister Barbara, who acted as his Lady Mayoress, niece Deborah, nephews Christopher and Stephen, as well as three great-nephews, a great-niece and a great-great-nephew.

Mr King died on Sunday night at Bradford Royal Infirmary after a short illness. He was described by his family as their “rock”.

Prior to his illness Mr King had been helping archive transport photographs at Bradford Industrial Museum.

Mr King, grandson of a Bradford tram driver and an author of books on local transport and local history, first became a Conservative councillor at City Hall in 1970.

He represented Heaton for 38 years, with a break in 1996 when he lost his seat but was re-elected later that year in a by-election.

During his time, Mr King was a member of a range of committees.
He was the authority’s representative on the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority – Metro – for almost 20 years and during that time he was chairman of the organisation twice.

He became Lord Mayor of Bradford in 2000 in a move which ended a decade of political acrimony over the position, being seen as a safe pair of hands.

Mr King retired from the Council and Metro in 2008 and celebrated his 80th birthday in February this year at a party at Heaton St Barnabas Village Hall. As well as obtaining the title of Lord of the Manor of Heaton, he was a founding member of the Heaton Township Association and a member of his church choir.

Councillor David Green, leader of the Council, said: “I’ve known Stanley King since I came on to the Council 21 years ago. He was a dedicated Bradfordian, representing his constituents and his passions, particularly for transport, in a polite and gentlemanly fashion. He was always courteous and always made sure he got his point across. He will be sorely missed, not just by his constituents, but by many thousands of people across the district.”

Councillor Glen Miller, leader of the Conservative group, said, “Stanley was one of those rare people who was very popular and genuinely well thought-of by people from across the political spectrum, which gives testament to how pleasant and respected a person and how true a gentleman he was.

“Bradford has lost a politician who gave his all to work for others, which does not happen that often these days and the thoughts of his many friends in the Conservative group go out to his family at this time.”

Councillor Adrian Naylor, leader of the Independents group on the Council, said: “This was a man full of integrity and a sense of what’s right, with Bradford stamped all the way through him. He was an honourable man who did a job on behalf of people and he will be sorely missed.”

Keighley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins, a former leader of Bradford Council, said: “He had an incredible wealth of knowledge across very many policy areas, particularly transport, which he built up over decades of service to the people of Heaton, Bradford district and the wider Yorkshire region.

“I greatly valued his wise counsel and discretion when difficult decisions needed to be taken. Stanley will be remembered by all of us who knew him as a man of decency, kindness, humility and absolute integrity.

“We have lost a gentleman.”

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Dale Smith, said: “Stanley was one of the most respected councillors with many years service to his credit. An exemplary Lord Mayor, his speeches were a joy to listen to and carefully prepared. His mastery of the English language was envied by all.”

The chairman of Heaton Township Association, Sonja McNally, added her tributes, saying: “He was a well-respected gentleman who always had time for a chat. He was extremely knowledgeable and it was always a pleasure to talk to him and it was seldom that you went away not having learnt something new.”

Mr King was described as an “unstinting campaigner for public transport” and an “acknowledged expert” on the history of Bradford’s tram and trolleybuses by Metro’s deputy chairman Councillor Eric Firth.

The flag at City Hall is at half-mast in Mr King’s honour.

Click here to sign the book of condolence for Stanley King