For­mer coun­cil leader and ‘stal­wart’ of city’s Tory party dies at 85

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

A FOR­MER coun­cil leader de­scribed as a “stal­wart” of Con­ser­va­tive pol­i­tics in Leeds has died at the age of 85.

Trib­utes have been paid to Peter Nor­man Spar­ling, who over­saw the merger of two of the city’s big­gest sin­gle-sex pri­vate schools in 2005.

First elected as a coun­cil­lor in 1968, he rose to be­come leader of Leeds’ Con­ser­va­tive party as it claimed par­tial vic­tory in the 1979 lo­cal elec­tions.

Mr Spar­ling, who was a coun­cil­lor for 19 years, also served as the leader of Leeds City coun­cil un­til 1980.

Fol­low­ing his re­tire­ment in 1987, he was ap­pointed an Honorary Al­der­man of the City of Leeds.

In 2014, Mr Spar­ling was named a Mem­ber of the British Em­pire (MBE) for his con­tri­bu­tion to lo­cal pol­i­tics, the arts and ed­u­ca­tion.

Alec Shel­brooke, Con­ser­va­tive MP for El­met & Roth­well, said: “Peter was a stal­wart of Con­ser­va­tive pol­i­tics in Leeds and our po­lit­i­cal fam­ily in El­met & Roth­well won’t be the same with­out him.

“Out­side of pol­i­tics, those who worked with Peter know just how proud he was of the or­gan­i­sa­tions he sup­ported, par­tic­u­larly of Opera North but also of Bard­sey Pri­mary School and GSAL (the Gram­mar School at Leeds) where he served as Chair of Gov­er­nors”.

Away from pol­i­tics, Mr Spar­ling, who lived in the Colling­ham area of the city, served as chair­man dur­ing a 30-year stint on Leeds Gram­mar School’s board of gov­er­nors. He helped over­see the merger be­tween then sin­gle-sex schools Leeds Gram­mar School and Leeds Girls High School, in 2005.

Mr Spar­ling also helped launch the Opera North arts or­gan­i­sa­tion. He leaves be­hind his wife, Bet­tie, and two chil­dren.

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