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Dover district Labour councillor Simon Bannister, for Buckland ward, dies after cancer diagnosis

By Sam Lennon

A long-serving councillor has died after a battle against cancer.

Simon Bannister, of Dover District Council, died on Wednesday.

The former deputy leader had been diagnosed with the disease last December.

Cllr Simon Bannister: Tributes have been paid
Cllr Simon Bannister: Tributes have been paid

He therefore decided not to stand in this May's district election but remained an active member for the Buckland ward until he died.

Both the council and Dover and Deal Labour Party announced his death today.

District Labour group leader Kevin Mills said: “Simon was a very dedicated and hardworking Labour councillor.

"He served the people of Dover for nearly 20 years and was looking ahead to winning his seat yet again in May, when sadly he was diagnosed with cancer. He was a tireless and selfless councillor. He will be sadly missed by many people. Our thoughts at this time go out to his family.”

Trish Hampton, chairman of Dover and Deal Labour Party, said:“Simon was a very experienced councillor and party activist, having been the secretary of DDLP for three years. He was proud to be called a socialist.

“He had enormous integrity, was respected by all who knew him and invariably saw the good in people.

"He gave a lot of time in fulfilling his duties as a councillor and would spend time with new colleagues giving them the benefit of his experience.

"He will be greatly missed and mourned by his comrades, colleagues and friends in Dover and Deal.”

Cll Bannister was 64 and was married with grown-up children.

A recent picture of Cllr Bannister with present district Labour group leader Kevin Mills and Labour Cllr Pam Brivio. Picture: Dover and Deal Labour Party.
A recent picture of Cllr Bannister with present district Labour group leader Kevin Mills and Labour Cllr Pam Brivio. Picture: Dover and Deal Labour Party.

He was first elected to the district authority at a by-election in September 1992 and was the Buckland Labour member from 1992 to 2007 and from 2015.

Cllr Bannister was the council's deputy leader from 2001 to 2003 and cabinet member for environment and public protection from 2000 to 2001.

In opposition he was the shadow deputy leader from 2005 to 07, shadow cabinet member for corporate resources from 2003 to 2007 and shadow cabinet member for access and licensing from 2015.

He also had a number of committee chairmanships.

For instance he had that post in the finance, land and general purposes committee from 1998 to 1999 and was its vice-chairman from 1999 to 2000.

He was chairman of the planning committee from 1994 to 1997 and its vice-chairman from 1997 to 1998.

His vice-chairmanships were also on the policy and services committee, from 2001 to 2002, policy and resources from 1999 to 2000, scrutiny (management) from 2003 to 2004, and scrutiny (performance) from 2004 to 2005.

The vacant seat following Cllr Bannister's death will be contested in the district and town elections on May 2.

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