Tributes have been paid to Sunderland’s Millennium Mayor, Ross Wares.
Elected as a councillor for Ryhope in 1986, he was appointed Mayor in May 1999 and was in office for the dawn of 2000.
Mr Wares was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to Royal Mail and also served as a magistrate in the city.
On his appointment as Mayor, he said: “I’m highly delighted and honoured that I should be offered this position.
“I hope my main achievement will be to promote the city of Sunderland as well as previous colleagues have.”
Sunderland City Council leader Coun Paul Watson paid tribute to his former colleague: “As a councillor and community stalwart, Ross was an example to us all,” he said.
He was a fabulous ambassador for Sunderland and he was a lovely. lovely man. All he cared about was the people of Ryhope.Coun Ellen Bell
“He served the people of Ryhope and Sunderland for many years from his work on council committees, his time as the Millennium Mayor in 1999, and his many works in the community.
“He will always be remembered for his friendly manner, his charm, and how he gave so much of himself for others.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many friends. He is greatly missed.”
Mr Wares retired from the council in 2010 but remained very active in the community, co-chairing the East Voluntary and Community Sector Area Network; chairing Ryhope Community Association, Blue Watch Youth Centre and Durham Heritage Coastal Partnership; working with Gentoo, Sunderland Empire, and the Raich Carter Sports Centre, and supporting local groups such as Ryhope Craft Class, Ryhope Keep Fit Club, Ryhope Sea Angling Club and Ryhope Heritage Society.
Coun Ellen Bell worked with Mr Wares from her election in 2007 until his retirement: “He retired from the council but he never went away, he was still part of the team,” she said.
“He was a fabulous ambassador for Sunderland and he was a lovely. lovely man.
“All he cared about was the people of Ryhope.”
Mr Wares is survived by wife Anne and the couple’s three children.
A funeral service for will be held at Sunderland Crematorium at 3pm on Wednesday, after which his family will welcome guests at Ryhope Community Association in Black Road to celebrate his life.