TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Sunderland MP who died on Monday, aged 87.
Gordon Bagier was a former Royal Marine and was dubbed the “Hero of Sunderland” when he triumphed over Tory MP Paul Williams in the 1964 General Election.
The Sunderland South seat had been held by the Conservatives for 11 years.
Mr Bagier went on to serve as MP for 23 years, before retiring in 1987, when he was succeeded by Chris Mullin.
Originally from Tyneside, he lived in Whickham, near Gateshead.
Mr Bagier saw three-and-a-half years of service during the Second World War, both on Russian Convoys and on D-Day. Before serving his country, he had started work on the railway.
He rose to the position of district signals inspector and was a member of the National Union of Railwaymen.
Mr Bagier was married to Vi, originally from Edinburgh, who he met when she was working as a hotel receptionist in Gilsland, Northumberland.
They lived in Newcastle, then moved when his work with the railway took him to Yorkshire.
Mr Bagier soon became involved in local politics and twice won seats from Tories on what were then called urban councils.
They returned to the North East, where he completed a hat-trick by capturing Sunderland South from the Tories.
The couple have four children – Gordon, Malcolm, Diane and Jill, who went on to become Labour councillor for Washington North.
Julie Elliott, Labour MP for Sunderland Central, said: “I am deeply sorry to hear of the passing of Gordon Bagier.
“As Sunderland South MP, he served the people of the city and the Labour party for more than 20 years.
“As a veteran of the Arctic Convoys, he campaigned hard for recognition of our brave military personnel.”
City councillor Thomas Wright added: “As one of the many who came back from the Second World War determined to make life better for all, he spent his whole life serving and supporting people through his hard work.”