FORMER Bradford Council leader Brian Womersley has died following a fall, aged 88.

Mr Womersley, who served as Councillor from 1973 until 1982, held the positions of deputy leader and leader of Bradford Council during his tenure.

He lived in Cottingley but had been in hospital for a few weeks when he had a fall on his ward, which ultimately led to his sad death.

He was elected as a Conservative Councillor for Morton and Keighley North East from 1973 until 1980, and then for Bingley Rural from 1980 until 1982.

He was deputy leader from 1975 until 1978 and was leader of the Council from 1979 until 1980.

Former Bradford Councillor Alan Chapman said Mr Womersley was a “leading Conservative local government member in the early days of Bradford Metropolitan District Council”.

He said: “Brian was chair of the management major committee, before becoming leader of the Tory Group and then leader of the Council.

“There are few left who would know Brian from those early pioneering days of Metropolitan Council Development.

“He was an able leader and was on the ball with the important subject of local government finance.”

Councillor Dale Smith knew Mr Womersley for more than 40 years, both as a colleague and as a friend.

He said: “Brian was a character, he had a very sharp brain.

“He took over as Council leader from John Singleton, and I had the privilege to serve as his deputy.

“When he was leader the chief executive was Gordon Moore, and they formed quite a formidable duo.

“When Brian spoke, it was in an exciting way and was well worth listening to. He was very plain spoken, bordering on bluntness, and he didn’t suffer fools gladly.

“He played a very significant role in the early days of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, he was very involved in the finances.

“Brian was highly political but in an open and honest way. People respected his forthright approach, something politics today misses. He was of the age where politicians really worked hard for the people they represented.

“He left a strong legacy for local Conservatives, and we are currently trying to reclaim the areas which in his day were Conservative. He was a lovely guy who will be much missed.

“He also worked successfully with the voluntary sector, which in those days was something of a novel subject.”

Councillor John Pennington, the current leader of the Conservative Group in Bradford, said: “Sadly I didn’t know Brian other than by name.

“His legacy is that he did a tremendous amount of good, hard and loyal work for the Conservative Group in Bradford.”

Funeral details for Mr Womersley are yet to be announced.