Tributes paid to former Cannock Chase councillor and West Mercia's first Police and Crime Commissioner
Tributes have been paid to a former police chief and community champion.
Bill Longmore, who spent 30 years with Staffordshire Police before serving as a councillor in Cannock Chase, died aged 79 following a long battle with cancer.
The respected former superintendent retired from the police in the 1980s and turned his attention to helping to improve local communities.
He later became West Mercia’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.
Mr Longmore was hailed for his efforts in trying to make a differences to communities in Staffordshire, both during and after his time in the force.
He was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year’s Unsung Hero for the West Midlands in 2011 in recognition of his tireless efforts in getting more people to take up sport.
He ran the successful Peelers boys’ football team, which counted Stan Collymore among its members, and also founded the police-backed Space holiday programmes which went on to become popular with families in the Midlands.
He remained a passionate campaigner in later life and spent recent years devoted to improving his village Hanwood, near Shrewsbury, where he developed the bowls club and secured a £50,000 grant to create an outdoor exercise area and BMX track.
Paying tribute to Mr Longmore, Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said: “I was very sad to hear this news.
“Bill was a good man, who always tried to do the right thing in all he did.
“He will be missed by those who knew him. My condolences to his family at this sad time.”
Mr Longmore decided to make a return to a policing role in 2012 when he stood for the newly created role of Police and Crime Commissioner in the West Mercia force area as an independent candidate, saying he was determined to prevent the role from becoming influenced by political motives.
Current West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I was very sad to hear of Bill’s passing. My thoughts are naturally with his wife, and extended family and friends at this time.
“Bill dedicated much of his life to serving the public, both as a police officer, and as West Mercia’s first Police and Crime Commissioner, but I am aware that his commitment to helping local communities extended well beyond that.
“Through his involvement in sport, business and other local groups Bill made a lot of friends and helped a lot of people.”