A MEMORIAL to a former council leader has been unveiled at a Wearside park.
Ex-fireman and civil servant Colin Anderson served Sunderland Council for 35 years, becoming its youngest ever alderman in 1972.
He then served as a councillor for first the Central and then Millfield wards, with only a two-year break until his retirement in 2007.
Mr Anderson died, aged 64, on January 20 last year, with mourners packing into St Mark’s Church, in Hylton Road, for his funeral.
Now, friends and former colleagues have rallied round to fund a memorial bench for the “larger than life character”.
Retired councillor Les Scott said: “I’d known Colin since I joined the council in 1979. He was already on the council at the time and we worked together and became close friends.
“When he died, there was a feeling that we should do something to remember him and his achievements.”
Mr Anderson became deputy leader in 1995 and succeeded former leader Bryn Sidaway in the top job when Mr Sidaway lost his seat in 1999. Mr Anderson led the authority for three years.
As well as his role as a councillor, he held a number of other posts, including vice-chairman of the council’s personnel committee, chairman of the Tyne and Wear Learning Partnership, chairman of governors at Thornhill School, Nexus board member and even safety marshall for the East End carnival.
He was not afraid to speak his mind and famously attracted controversy when he compared the city’s council tax rise to the cost of a pasty, even posing with one of Gregg’s finest to make his point.
After standing down from the council, he was one of five founder members of community interest company Riverside Consulting, which helps community organisations with fund-raising, development, business planning and project management.
“Colin committed his life to Sunderland and we felt we should do something for him,” said Mr Scott. “He was a really popular figure.
“No doubt he would have been pleased about the ‘Pasty Tax’ U-turn by the Government.”
The bench has been sponsored by Wearside-based Thompson Building Centres, with funds originally raised for it used to set up a special category at the annual Sunderland Young Achievers Awards in memory of Mr Anderson.