Heartache of council boss

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A council director penalised for falling in love with a councillor, collapsed with a suspected heart attack on Tuesday.

Head of planning Nick Fenwick, 53, was found unconscious by a fellow employee close to his office.

An ambulance and paramedics rushed to the civic offices and his partner Councillor Catriona Morris was called to accompany him to hospital. It’s understood doctors there pronounced Mr Fenwick’s heart to be healthy and diagnosed severe stress.

A source told the Citizen: “It’s like his body shut down physically due to the extreme stress he has been under recently.”

Mr Fenwick and former mayor Ms Morris have openly been in a relationship since 2010 and live together in Broughton.

Last month, following unspecified concerns from one or more councillors, chief executive David Hill spent up to £20,000 of public money on an independent investigation to examine whether the love match was causing professional problems. Almost 30 councillors and colleagues were formally interviewed.

It is understood the investigation team found no problems, but nevertheless last week Mr Fenwick was advised by Mr Hill to quit his job and negotiate a leaving package.

It is not yet known whether he plans take the council to a tribunal for unfair dismissal.

On Wednesday Ms Morris told the Citizen: “Nick has been discharged from hospital and is resting at home. His doctor has signed him off work with stress.

“All the worry proved too much for him and he collapsed. I always said that this could affect his health and I was right. Luckily though our relationship is stronger than ever and I will look after him.”

She has thanked the paramedics, doctors and Mr Fenwick’s colleagues for their help and speedy response.