A SOLICITOR who served the people of Sunderland for half a century has died aged 98.
Richard Heron, of Middle Herrington, was made Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear more than 30 years ago following a successful career in the legal profession.
South Shields-born Mr Heron gained first-class honour degrees from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, before starting his legal career with Sunderland Corporation in 1935.
After the Second World War, in which Mr Heron was exempt from conscription, he resigned as an assistant solicitor from the corporation to go into private practice with law firm McKenzie and Co., which later became McKenzie, Bell and Co.
After marrying Margaret in 1940, the pair had two children.
A keen cricketeter, he became president and treasurer of Durham Cricket Club in the 1970s and also helped the team get first-class county status in 1991.
Mr Heron also entered the political arena, representing St Chad’s ward when residents living there feared they would be split between Farringdon and Thorney Close.
Standing as an independent, he was elected in 1967 and stood until 1972 before becoming chairman of the Housing and Planning committees.
He retired from work in 1989, a year after Mrs Heron died.
Chief among Mr Heron’s interests in later life was the upkeep of his garden, which was opened to the public.
Mr Heron’s son Paul, who followed in his father’s footsteps to become a solicitor, paid tribute to him.
The 68-year-old, of Silksworth, who has been a solicitor for 40 years and works at Westgarth Solicitors in the city centre, said: “He did a lot for the community and I think the driving force behind that was my late mother.
“He was very generous and loyal to his friends.
“As well as that, he was a meticulous person and since he died we have found diaries of every day of his life since his retirement, which even include what he had for his evening meals.”
As well as Paul, Mr Heron leaves daughter Sue as well as seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.