TRIBUTE has been paid to a former councillor and Keighley town mayor who has died aged 81.

Martin Leathley was a Labour member of the old West Yorkshire County Council and represented the former Keighley North ward on Bradford Council.

When the current town council was formed in 2002, he became Keighley’s first mayor for nearly 30 years.

During his working life, Mr Leathley taught English at the former Bronte and Greenhead schools in Keighley and before his retirement was health and safety officer at the town’s college.

Mr Leathley, who had lived in Silsden for about four decades, moved to Lincolnshire in 2004. He is survived by his wife Sylvia and daughter Rachel.

This week, former Keighley Labour MP Ann Cryer voiced her sadness at his death.

“I knew Martin extremely well for a number of years,” she said.

“He and Sylvia always gave me a very warm welcome whenever I called round at their home.

“Martin was a socialist through to his fingertips, a good politician and was a pleasure to be with.

“He was a kind man and a great supporter of me – and in politics that means a huge amount.”

Another ex-Keighley MP, John Grogan, also pays tribute.

“In 2000 Martin suggested that a town council be created and that it would give a distinct voice to Keighley within Bradford district,” he said. “He was instrumental in gaining support for the idea and he was the obvious choice to be the first mayor. His contribution to the development of the town and its politics will be long remembered.”