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Tributes paid to deputy leader of Cumbria council Ian Stewart

Tributes have been paid to the deputy leader of Cumbria County Council Ian Stewart following the death of the 65-year-old Liberal Democrat councillor.

He suffered a heart attack in his home near Milnthorpe and passed away on Monday morning.

Stewart was the leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat group, as well as a long-serving South Lakeland District councillor and a member of the Beetham Parish Council.

Tim Farron paid tribute to the “councillor, campaigner, fixer, fighter and, most importantly, friend.”

He said: “Ian’s achievements were many and significant. When I needed to send someone into battle at a key committee that might help protect the hospital, I’d send Ian.

“He was no nonsense, tough and capable. He used his strength to get things done for local people.

“There are hundreds of families locally who have an affordable home because of Ian’s ability to be tough when it counted, from motives that were tender.”

Stewart became a grandfather just three months ago, and was found by his wife of 33 years, Jan Stewart, who was also his full-time carer.

Stewart Young, the leader of Cumbria County Council, said in a statement: “I am extremely saddened at the sudden loss of my colleague and friend, Cllr Ian Stewart.

“Ian has been a passionate and enthusiastic public servant since joining the council over 17 years ago, and I feel very fortunate to have worked alongside him for many of those years.”

Young continued: “Motivated only by his passion to help people, he was a gifted listener and speaker. With his relentless ‘can do’ attitude, he was an effective representative for his local constituents, and also worked tirelessly on behalf of all the people of Cumbria through the County Council’s Network. 

“Ian will be greatly missed, and fondly remembered, my thoughts and condolences are with his family and all those who were touched by his warmth and generosity.”

The director of the County Councils Network (CCN), Simon Edwards, said: “We are all deeply saddened by the death of Cllr Ian Stewart. As well as playing a leading role on Cumbria County Council, we were privileged to work with him in his capacity as the CCN spokesman for communities and wellbeing.

“Ian was a dedicated public servant and has played a hugely prominent role in CCN’s successes over the last couple of years.

“He carried out his duties at CCN not only with dedication, but with good humour and a sensitivity to both officers and members across the political divide. He will be missed by all across the network.”

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