Tributes paid to former council leader described as 'Mr Labour'
PUBLISHED: 16:35 23 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:14 23 May 2019
Tributes have been paid to a popular former council leader described as a "stalwart of the Labour Party".
Ray Nowak, who was a previous leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, died at his home in Portland, Dorset, on Monday.
A minute's silence was held for Mr Nowak at the beginning of the first meeting of the newly-formed West Suffolk Council on Wednesday night.
Mr Nowak, who also served as a Suffolk county councillor, was 70 years old.
A keen stone carver, Mr Nowak moved down to Dorset to retire, but quickly became reinvolved with local politics, serving on Portland Town Council and the former Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.
Diane Hind, Labour district and Bury St Edmunds town councillor said she was saddened to hear the news.
"He was a stalwart of the Labour Party, he was Mr Labour really," she said. "He was leader of the council in the early 2000s and signed off on the redevelopment of the Cattle Market.
"He was Labour through and through and it's so very sad."
New deputy leader of West Suffolk Council Sara Mildmay-White also paid tribute.
She said: "Both I and leader John Griffiths enjoyed working with Ray who was passionate about politics and doing what was best for his local communities.
"He led a coalition of parties at St Edmundsbury Borough Council and is well remembered by all that knew him for his ability to debate clearly what he saw was the best course as well as work with those in his group or the opposition on issues.
"We held a minute's silence in his memory and will be sadly missed from politics."
Portland Town Council described Mr Nowak as an "outstanding champion for the people".
In a statement, the council said: "Ray was a rare politician with a vision of Portland, what it is about, and where it is going. "Ray was passionate about serving the community and taught some valuable lessons to members of Portland Town Council about being a councillor.
"He was an outstanding champion for the people of Portland and always strove to do what was best for the for the island. He will be sorely missed."