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Former mayor and Wednesbury councillor Bill Archer dies

By Charlotte Callear | Wednesbury | Politics | Published:

Former mayor and long-serving Wednesbury councillor Bill Archer has died at the age of 91.

Bill Archer was known as Mr Wednesbury

Tributes have poured in for the former councillor, who was known as Mr Wednesbury.

Mr Archer served as a Tory councillor for 36 years and was Sandwell mayor between 2005 and 2006.

He retired in 2010 aged 83.

His family revealed he was seriously ill last week after battling prostate cancer for nearly 20 years, during which time he raised £15,000 to open a prostate unit in Sandwell Hospital.

His daughter, Wednesbury North Councillor Elaine Costigan, paid tribute to the ‘amazing’ councillor and father-of-four, who was also a grandfather and great-grandfather.

Councillor Elaine Costigan paid tribute to 'amazing' father Bill Archer

She said: “He was loved and well-respected by all.

“He was such a people person who did anything for anybody no matter who they voted for. People used to come into his shop and tell him their problems.

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"Even when he retired he would get regular calls from people asking for help and he would always take their details and pass them on.

“He said to me I hope they do not take calls in the sky because I will not be able to answer and help people.”

She said she has received around 800 private messages paying tribute to him and offering condolences.

Bill Archer as a young soldier

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She said: “I am blown away with all the tributes, it really is amazing to hear from all the people who loved him.

“He was known as Mr Wednesbury and people knew him as that from when they were a child to when grown up.

"I just want to thank people for all the wonderful comments and messages. It has cheered me up.”

Mr Archer grew up in Portway Road, Wednesbury.

He ran a clothes shop in Union Street for 17 years before he became a Conservative councillor in 1974 for what was Market Ward and later became Wednesbury North.

He stood down from the council in 2010 aged 83.

Bill Archer with his wartime medal

In 2016, a plaque was unveiled on a bench in Union Street outside of his former shop to pay tribute to him. The family man was married to his wife, Freda, for 72 years who he had four children with.

The History of Wednesbury Facebook group posted: "I often refer to us in Wednesbury as a family. Bill Archer passed away and we lost a well-known member of our Wednesbury family. He was a man that stood out both as a councillor and as a shopkeeper."

MP for West Bromwich East Tom Watson said: “Though a political opponent he was highly respected by all in the Labour Party.

“I enjoyed his company and banter. I would often see him carrying a giant pile of letters that were destined for David Cameron, George Osborne and other ministers he felt needed his straight up Black Country advice.

"We have lost one of the great characters of the borough.

The funeral will be at 10am on June 23 at St Bartholomew’s Church, Wednesbury.

Charlotte Callear

By Charlotte Callear
@CCallear_Star

Reporter based at the Express & Star's Wolverhampton head office

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