Tribute to former Hebden Royd Mayor

Former Mayor of Hebden Royd Chris O'Brien, who has passed away
Former Mayor of Hebden Royd Chris O'Brien, who has passed away

Christopher O’Brien, past Mayor of Hebden Royd and long serving councillor died peacefully in his sleep on Friday, August 29, aged 90.

Chris lived in Hebden Bridge for more than 50 years, married to his late wife Sheila and with his daughters Christine and Amanda.

Chris was born in the West of Ireland in 1924, and was set to follow his father into a career on the Irish Railways when the war intervened and he joined the RAF.

It was whilst he was posted to Marham, Norfolk that he met Sheila, who was a native of Hebden Bridge. They were married in 1947 before Chris started an apprenticeship with the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow. Once qualified however, Chris returned to Hebden Bridge with Sheila in 1951 where he was to remain for most of his life.

As an engineer, Chris campaigned for safer practices in the workplace and joined the union to have a voice to persuade employers to make changes. This sparked his political ideas so in 1969 he became a Labour councillor on Hebden Royd Urban District Council and alter Hebden Royd Town Council. He remained a councillor for the next 20 years and was elected Mayor in 1985.

Chris was a well-known face in the town during the 1970s and 1980s, when he was on various local committees and a governor at two local schools. He worked hard for a number of charities including the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the European Group and was instrumental in turning the, then unused, Trades Club into a useful amenity.

Chris’s committment to civic life was marked by Craig Whittaker MP and Kris Hopkins MP and it seemed appropriate that family and friends gathered together at the Town Hall in Hebden Bridge last Friday to remember him.

Chris enjoyed the company of all his family and friends and will be very sadly missed by all those who knew him.