Mayor of Wolverhampton Elias Mattu dies following illness

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | Politics | Published:

Tributes have poured in for the Mayor of Wolverhampton after he died at the age of 59 following a long illness.

Elias Mattu

Councillor Elias Mattu has been described as 'very special' and a 'fantastic public servant' after his death was announced this morning by Wolverhampton Council.

The father-of-three served as a Labour councillor for the Graiseley ward and was sworn in as mayor in May.

He had been absent from several recent events in the city due to his ill health.

The council said flags would be flying at half mast outside the city's Civic Centre as a mark of respect.

Wolverhampton council leader Roger Lawrence, said: "Elias was my friend and a loyal, dedicated and loving family man. On behalf of the City of Wolverhampton, I extend my very deepest condolences to his widow Asha and his children Anthony, Ishmael and Jessica.

"Elias served his city and council for nearly two decades with huge dedication and commitment. He was one of our city's favourite sons, a hugely popular councillor and person, hugely respected by the people he served.

"His great strength was his warmth, impeccable manners, leadership, compassion, loyalty and unifying influence. Elias worked closely with different community and faith groups across the City of Wolverhampton, bringing people from all backgrounds together and making our city a better place as a result.

"Despite illness, he continued his mayoral duties for as long as he could with unyielding strength, optimism and determination and raised thousands of pounds for his mayoral charities. He will be profoundly missed by many people."


Express & Star editor Keith Harrison said: "Terribly sad news in Wolverhampton today. A man of great dignity and courage, who represented the very best of public service. A huge loss to the entire city."

West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: "I am so sad to hear about the death of Cllr Elias Mattu.

"Elias was a dedicated public servant, who always put Wolverhampton first and was always there to help those in need. My thoughts are with his family."


Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden shared his tribute on Twitter, saying: "The death of Councillor Elias Mattu is a huge loss for Wolverhampton.

"A fantastic and tireless public servant, he worked so hard for the people of the city, always in a spirit of great generosity and warmth.

"We have lost someone very special today."

Also among those paying tribute were Councillors Mary and Phil Bateman and Councillor Rita Potter who issued a joint statement sending their 'deepest sympathy and condolences to his family'.

"Elias was a good friend to us as individuals," they said.

"He had a super relationship with the members of our own Ashmore Park Community Association.

"We will never forget him as being a kind man, a very good Mayor and councillor, and for being a very committed human being.”

Wolverhampton councillor Pete Bilson said: "Elias was an extremely loyal and committed councillor who had a great unifying influence across the city.

"He always had time for people and will be fondly remembered."

Emma Reynolds, the MP for Wolverhampton North East, described Mr Mattu as 'a great friend, generous colleague and fantastic local councillor'. "He will be sorely missed," she said.

Wolverhampton South West MP Eleanor Smith said the city had lost 'a great individual'.

Graiseley councillor Jacqueline Sweetman said Mr Mattu was 'a great communitarian' who was able to create lasting and solid relationships with people.

She added: "There was a deep kindness about Elias. With his passing a little bit of the heart of Wolverhampton has gone.

"My deepest thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Graiseley councillor Jacqueline Sweetman said Mr Mattu was 'a great communitarian' who was able to create lasting and solid relationships with people.

She added: "There was a deep kindness about Elias. With his passing a little bit of the heart of Wolverhampton has gone.

"My deepest thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Councillor Wendy Thompson, on behalf of the council's Conservative group, said how sorry they were to hear of the sad death of Mr Mattu.

“It obviously meant a great deal to him to be Mayor of Wolverhampton and it is very sad that he was unable to complete his mayoral year," she said.

"The last two years were hard for him with failing health but he fought valiantly, enjoying his mayoral duties that he carried out with pride. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time."

Dudley North MP Ian Austin said Mr Mattu had 'contributed a huge amount to Wolverhampton and the Black Country'. "He fought to improve opportunities for local people and worked so hard to bring communities together," he said.

Walsall councillor Doug James, said: "I worked at St Chad's Community Centre in Pennfields in the mid-90s when community centres weren't known for their cohesion. I met a man called Elias Mattu and we agreed to work together to try to change that.

"They were turbulent times. There was a lot of discord in the area, racism, increasing poverty and prostitution.

"Through working with Elias we both got on particularly well. It was one of the proudest days of my life when he was made the 159th Mayor of Wolverhampton.

"It goes beyond politics and he inspired many people in Wolverhampton. His contributions to the city have been significant.

"He has been a great servant to the city and he will be missed. I will miss him as a friend."

Broadcaster Dicky Dodd said: "I'm deeply saddened to learn Elias Mattu, our wonderful Mayor of Wolverhampton, has passed away.

"Elias always smiled when he greeted me and he was very proud of our city. My thoughts are with his wife Asha, his family, friends and colleagues at Wolverhampton council."

President of Wolverhampton's Indian Workers Association, Mohinder Singh, said: "We have lost a great person - our shining star."

Councillor Mattu, who represented the Graiseley ward for 18 years, became the city's 159th mayor last year, taking on ceremonial duties for 2017/18.

On becoming mayor, he said: "I came to this great city, as many other families from Asia did, in the 1960s and 1970s.

"I was nine-years-old when I arrived and I've found when you come to Wolverhampton, you never want to leave."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.


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