Tributes paid after death of Melton councillor
More tributes have been paid to Melton borough councillor Michael Blase - the authority’s only Labour member - who passed away on Tuesday.
Councillor Blase, who leaves partner Margaret and daughters Susy and Natalie, was elected to the council at a by-election for the town’s Egerton Ward in May 2016.
Since then he has served on many committees and task groups and championed the needs of his ward and the wider community in all his council appointments.
Melton Council said this yesterday (Thursday) it was announcing the news with great sadness and that Michael ‘was trusted and well respected, both by council officers and his fellow councillors’.
Matthew O’Callaghan, a senior official with the Rutland and Melton Labour group, said: “We only received the news moments before an already scheduled meeting of the Constituency Labour Party of the sad passing of Mike.
“We spent some time in quiet reflection on the life and work of Mike and tributes were paid to him from many members in the Labour Party.
“In the old fashioned term he was a decent man; quiet, loyal, hardworking and compassionate.
“It was his compassion that perhaps led him to stand as a councillor representing the Egerton Ward in which he lived.
“Not overtly political, he nevertheless had strong convictions which he would bring to bear in debates in the council on important issues.
“The Labour Party will miss him and as a friend we will all miss him.”
Councillors Blase was also secretary and vice-chair of Melton-based Residents’ Action Group Egerton (RAGE).
RAGE chair Tina Culley, who Councillor Blase replaced on the council when she stepped down, said: “I am in utter shock.
“He was very hard working, loyal, considerate and above all my friend.
“I had to tell the rest of my RAGE team who are equally as upset as I am.
“He was a marvellous councillor.
“He lived on Egerton Ward so always had his finger on the pulse on what was happening.
“He wasn’t a councillor on paper - he was a ‘proper’, proactive ward councillor.
“He had it tough on the council as he was the only Labour councillor and fought every debate from the bottom of a mountain.
“But he never gave up, no matter how soul-destroying this was.”
Mrs Culley added: “I am going to miss him dreadfully.
“We spoke a few days ago about organising our upcoming RAGE meeting on Tuesday.
“This will still go ahead as he would have wanted it to - but it will be terribly hard without him.”
Councillor Joe Orson, leader of Melton Council, said: “I have not only lost a valued member of the council but also a thoroughly decent person and a great friend.
“Michael always acted in the best interests of the community and put aside any political differences for the greater good of the borough.
“He was a genuine and well respected person who will be sadly missed by all who had the good fortune to work with him at the council.
“I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his friends and family and all those who knew him.”
The flag at the council offices, off Burton Street, will fly at half-mast until after the funeral in memory of Councillor Blase.