From Helen Brundell on behalf of Calder Valley CLP We are sorry to announce that Steve Sweeney passed away on 14th July, in the presence of his family. He was a Calderdale Labour councillor until May 2021 and, in spite of his cancer diagnosis, was still chairing Council Planning Committees until early this year. The decency, commitment and positivity that he brought to his work for the Labour Party and for the people of Calderdale will be sorely missed and much remembered. He inspired many people to join the Labour Party and encouraged them to become councillors. He also served as an agent in parliamentary and council elections.
Steve was a Calderdale councillor for Todmorden for nine years, first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. He served the Council and the people of Calderdale in many roles, including Cabinet Member for Community Services, Member of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel and as Chair of the Planning Committee. In addition he served for four years on the local Hebden Royd Town Council. He was known and respected across the political spectrum for his considered and unflappable style, often steering meetings though turbulent waters. A good chair and mediator, he was also not afraid to tell people to sit down when they had had their say. A resident of Todmorden and Hebden Bridge for over thirty years, Steve was also a very practical person, helping people out during the Upper Valley floods and relishing the opportunity to roll his sleeves up and get stuck in fixing things.
During his thirty year career as a youth worker in Greater Manchester Steve made a real difference to the lives of many children and young people and more recently he became a trustee of Halifax based charity Himmat, helping young people to fulfil their potential in difficult circumstances. He had also been a very active Chair of locally based charity, White Ribbon, which encourages men to take a stand against male violence, seeing it grow from a tiny start-up in an attic to a nationally recognised organisation.
His political colleagues will remember him with respect and affection, his friends will remember him with love and fondness for his cycling and walking, enjoyment of his motorbike (even after accidents), his love of decent wine and for the growing of good food in his garden. Everyone will remember him as a warm and generous person who was committed to making the world a better place. We are all the better for knowing him.
Our thoughts are with his family.