It is with great sadness that Barnsley Council have announced the death of Cllr Len Picken following a long illness.
The Council issued a statement on their official website, which read:
“Len was a hard-working councillor on behalf of the people of his St Helen’s ward and Barnsley since 1993. His tried and tested approach to his community was to walk through the area whenever possible, picking up problems and concerns during the course of the day.
“He was also elected Mayor of Barnsley and served as the borough’s first citizen during 2007/08.
“A mineworker for more than 40 years, Len worked at pits such as Wharncliffe Woodmoor 4 and 5, North Gawber and Ferrymoor/Riddings.
“It was while working at what had become known as Ferrymoor/Riddings that Len first became actively involved in politics and public service, when he was elected, unopposed, as an NUM representative for the Riddings (Grimethorpe/Barnsley area) men. However, his interest in politics goes back even further, to at least 1960 when he joined the Labour Party.
“He will be very sadly missed and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”
St Helen’s ward colleagues Cllrs Jenny Platts and David Leech paid tribute to Cllr Picken. They said: “We are extremely saddened by the death of our friend and colleague Cllr Len Picken. Len has worked tirelessly over many years for the benefit of our residents and community and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time.”
Adding his own thoughts, Barnsley Council Leader Cllr Steve Houghton, said: “Len was one of Barnsley’s most respected, well liked and well known councillors; totally dedicated to the people of Athersley and the borough.
“He was one of the few councillors who managed to influence national legislation around health, under the previous Labour government.
“Not only a hard working and well respected politician, he was a very nice man and a friend to councillors of all parties.”
The council’s condolences are with Cllr Picken’s family – he leaves two daughters as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Cllr Picken’s death was marked by a minute’s silence at this morning’s special council meeting, with tributes paid by the mayor and leaders of all parties.