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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Tributes to Mr Maryport after town stalwart dies

Tributes have poured in for Bill Cameron – the man known as “Mr Maryport” – who has died at the age of 87.

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DEDICATED: Bill Cameron when he retired from Maryport Town Council in 2011 after 44 years of service on the authority

Mr Cameron served the town for almost 50 years but his proudest boast was that he had a train named after him.

He joined the West Coast Rail pressure group in 1993 and served as chairman until his retirement three years ago.

He once said that having the train named after him was the biggest thrill of his life.

Mr Cameron died at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle last Friday.

Lord Campbell-Savours, former Workington MP, said that Labour’s Mr Cameron was a champion of the people.

He said he was one of the most colourful and outspoken figures in Cumbrian local government.

Mr Cameron represented Maryport at county council level for 43 years.

Those who knew and worked with him said he would be remembered as a man who was not afraid to stand up for what he believed was right.

Lord Campbell-Savours worked with Mr Cameron while MP for Workington between 1979 and 2001.

He said: “During my years as MP he was truly Mr Maryport, a man who was highly significant in the history of the town.

“I like people who fight for their communities and he fought.”

Mr Cameron, of Christian Street, was first elected to the forerunner of Maryport Town Council in 1967.

Speaking as he retired last year, he revealed that it was his experience as a coal man and helping out with a floods clean-up operation, when he was unimpressed with the official response, that triggered his decision to stand for election.

He said that his work, as well as his involvement in rugby and wrestling, meant that he knew most people in Maryport.

Mr Cameron started as an independent before joining the Labour party five years later.

He said one of his proudest moments as a councillor came when he successfully campaigned to get the back lanes of Netherton brought up to adoption standard.

Mr Cameron delivered coal before he started work at the Chapel Bank foundry in Workington.

He played rugby and competed at Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling.

A committed Methodist, he regularly attended St Mark’s Church on Kirkby Street.

Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham said: “Mr Cameron was a people’s politician, passionate about local politics and those who he represented.”

Mr Cameron retired from Cumbria County Council last year and at the time said his mantra was: “you always work for the people.”

Stewart Young, county council leader and colleague, said: “Bill was a major figure in Cumbrian politics.

“He never had to canvass in Maryport as everyone knew him and he knew them.

“He could be difficult because he was a very strong-minded person and in politics that sometimes brings you onto opposing sides, but the thing about Bill was that everything he did was really for the people he represented. He will be a great loss.”

Fellow Labour politician Keith Little, who represents Maryport south on the county council, said: “Bill was a remarkable man. He was a real influence on my political career.”

Barbara Cannon, Allerdale council’s deputy leader, praised Mr Cameron as a local champion and said: “He left nobody in any doubt where his heart lay.”

Mr Cameron, through his involvement with the West Coast Rail pressure group, was a key player in the campaign to demand improvements to the west coast main line, as well as helping to save the Carlisle to Settle line.

His funeral was held today at St Mary’s Church, Maryport, at 10am.

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