Express & Star

Tributes as former Wolverhampton mayor Bert Turner dies

Former Mayor of Wolverhampton Bert Turner has passed away following an illness.


The Bilston councillor was the city's mayor in 2011-12 and raised more than £55,000 for charity.

And as a councillor he was instrumental in dealing with the immediate aftermath of a devastating fire at Wilkinson Primary School, helping to arrange temporary classrooms for children.

Councillor Turner was the brother of Dennis Turner, who went on to be MP for Wolverhampton South East and later Lord Bilston before his own death last year.

Flags were lowered to half mast in tribute today outside Wolverhampton Civic Centre.

Heroine Lisa Potts is presented with an award by Bert Turner during his time as Mayor

Fellow Bilston East councillor Steve Simkins, chairman of the Wolverhampton South East Constituency Labour Party, said: "Bert was Bilston and Bradley through and through.

"He was a huge part of this community. It feels as though we've all lost a father figure. That's certainly how I saw him.

"Between them Bert and Dennis were a great team. While Dennis went on to represent his home town in Parliament, Bert went on to be the city's representative as mayor."

Wolverhampton council has opened a book of condolence at Bilston's Bert Williams Leisure Centre, which Councillor Turner opened when he was mayor.

The council's leader Roger Lawrence said: "Bert Turner was not just a good colleague but a personal friend. His support and advice was highly valued by myself and many others. I am deeply saddened by his death and I am sure he will be much missed in Bilston and Bradley, communities he has served for many years with distinction."

Councillor Turner and his brother were instrumental in the long fight to try to save Bilston Steelworks in the 1970s.

Pat McFadden, who succeeded Dennis Turner as MP for Wolverhampton South East, said: "Bert devoted his whole life to serving the people of Bradley and Bilston, whether it was in the fight to save the steelworks or in his many years as a local councillor. he was a Labour man to the core and fought hard for his people and his area, which he always called God's country. He had very good political judgment and I valued his support and wise advice greatly over the years. He will be hugely missed by the local community. "

On the Facebook group In The Shadow of Elisabeth, named after a furnace at the steelworks, a tribute piece reads: "Bert fought tirelessly in defence of his beloved Steelworks alongside hundreds of steelworkers at Bilston, including his brother Dennis.

"In an interview in 2012 Bert said 'the last day was terrible, grown men were crying when they saw that last ingot coming down the mill. It's what people don't understand, it was like a family'.

"It is truly symbolic that Bert joins his 'family' in the skies above Bilston exactly one day after the 35th anniversary of the demolition of his beloved Elisabeth - the last blast furnace ever to grace the landscape of the Black Country."

A reminiscence session is taking place at 1pm on Saturday at the Springvale Social Club, Millfields Road.

Councillor Turner leaves a wife, Kath, a daughter, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

He had represented Bilston East since 1990.

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