TRIBUTES have been paid to a Calderdale councillor following his death late last week.

Coun Mohammad Naeem, who passed away on July 9, had represented Park ward since May 2018 and had previously represented the former St John’s ward between 1989 and 1992.

Before he became a councillor, he was proud to support the late Ann Martin by acting as her consort during her year as Mayor in 2013-14, said Labour group leader and leader of the council, Coun Tim Swift (Town).

Coun Swift said Coun Naeem’s time as a councillor was only a small part of his contribution to both the Labour party and the wider community.

“He has worked tirelessly for racial equality, spending much of his career working for race equality organisations in Halifax, Bradford and then Rochdale, as well as a period working for a national Immigration Advisory Service,” said Coun Swift.

Coun Naeem had also been a non-executive Director of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, and spent some years as a Trustee of the Lloyds TSB Foundation.

In party group terms, Coun Naeem became chair of Calderdale Labour in 2008, at a time when the party held only a handful of seats, and over the next ten years help steer and support its campaigning as Labour became the largest party, before being part of the group that in 2019 gained an overall majority for the first time in more than 20 years, said Coun Swift.

“Naeem was a valued confidant and advisor to many of us, and I have been struck by how many new members and activists have commented on the way he helped and advised them as they started to navigate their way through the party.

“Naeem’s friendships and contacts extended well beyond West Yorkshire, and this is reflected the number of tributes that have been paid to him since Friday.

“Most importantly, Naeem was a proud father and grandfather, and our sympathies go out to all his friends and relatives.

“He will be missed, respected, and remembered fondly by all of us,” he said.

Ward colleague Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said Coun Naeem had the respect and friendship of many, not limited to his party colleagues, and a wealth of experience he brought to the council.

“He was very, very well thought of and he had friends across all parties in the council,” she said – and fellow councillors of other parties are among those from all walks of life paying tribute to Coun Naeem on well over a hundred social media postings.

Coun Lynn said she had chosen him as her agent when she was elected in 2012, and they had worked together as co-chairs on an investigation into diversity and inclusion.

He was a hard working ward councillor and, she said: “He was not afraid to challenge people. He was principled.”

Coun Swift said Coun Naeem had also provided “vital” help and support to Labour’s Members of Parliament for Halifax, Alice Mahon, Linda Riordan and most recently Holly Lynch.

Other tributes included a fulsome one from Calder Valley Labour Party colleagues and Halifax MP Ms Lynch, who said Coun Naeem had always been an “incredible support” to her.

“He will be remembered for his dedication and commitment to the community he served so tirelessly and lovingly,” she said.