Labour councillor dies days after helping election campaign in Milton Keynes
The councillor who first welcomed the "bonkers" idea to bring the Dons football to Milton Keynes has died days after seeing the team promoted.
Labour stalwart Alderman Kevin Wilson served on MK Council for decades and was one of the first people to listen to Pete Winkelman when he presented his dream of creating professional football in the city.
Kevin died on Tuesday at Milton Keynes hospital. But despite his lengthy illness, he had spent last week helping his Labour colleagues during the elections.
Council leader Pete Marland said: "He had four passions; his family, the Labour Party, his beloved Woughton community and the MK Dons. He was working with us on elections until the end and was delighted to see the Dons bag a promotion."
He added: "Kevin had been ill for a while, but I am sure the very sad news will come as a shock given he was active in the recent local elections right up until the weekend."
.Kevin, who lived on Eaglestone, was the first leader when the council became a unitary authority 22 years ago.
"He was a giant of Milton Keynes. I will miss his advice and his wisdom, as will many," said Pete.
He added: "Few people in life are graced with the skills of leadership while having a humanity and kindness like Kevin, but his legacy to this city will always be here.
“Milton Keynes has lost a public servant that is as intrinsic to the fabric of this city as any so called founding father.
"He was a visionary. It was Kevin who welcomed an equally bonkers idea from a man called Pete Winkleman to bring professional football to Milton Keynes.
“MK has lost a public servant that is as intrinsic to the fabric of this city as any so called founding father. It is through Kevin's legacy not just for this city, but for Woughton in particular, that his family can take great heart during this most difficult time."
A memorial service is to be arranged.
The former Labour was councillor for Woughton and Fishermead but died earlier this week.
A statement from Milton Keynes Council read: "Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Alderman Kevin Wilson who died earlier this week. Kevin was Labour Councillor for Woughton and Fishermead, former Leader of Milton Keynes Council. He was awarded an MBE for services to Local Government in 2015. He will be sorely missed."
Both city MP's paid tribute to Mr Wilson, who Mark Lancaster described as 'a tremendous credit' to MK Council.
He said: "Terribly sad to hear long serving Labour councillor Kevin Wilson has passed away. He was a tremendous credit as a councillor in Milton Keynes and to the wider community."
Iain Stewart added: "Very sad to hear of Kevin Wilson's passing. He was a long serving and dedicated local councillor. He will be greatly missed."
The Conservative group in Milton Keynes added: "MK Conservatives are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of long serving Labour Councillor Kevin Wilson. Milton Keynes has lost a dear friend and his experience and wise council will be sadly missed by all. Our deepest condolences go to his family and friends."
Leader of the Conservative Group Cllr Alex Walker said: "We would like to extend our deepest condolences to Kevin's family. He was a great community champion and one of the best and longest serving politicians Milton Keynes has ever seen. While we didn’t always agree, Kevin could see beyond the political divide and do what was in the best interest of Milton Keynes. He was also one of the greatest orators our Council has been lucky enough to see. He could at a moments notice produce a speech on almost any subject and it could always be to the point and if needed turn an argument completely on its head. His abilities commanded respect on all sides of the chamber. Woughton and Milton Keynes will miss him."