Tributes to councillor who died in Italy

John 'Binky' Amrstong
John 'Binky' Amrstong

A prominent councillor who has served his community tirelessly for decades has died aged 82.

Wigton's John Armstrong, widely known as Binky, passed away last week in Italy while on holiday there with wife Mara.

A well-known figure in his hometown and throughout the county, Binky first joined Wigton town council in 1991 and served until 2007. He rejoined in 2015.

He had two spells as town mayor and was mayor of Allerdale in 2009, representing Wigton on that authority between 2003 and 2015 as an independent councillor.

During his time as a councillor he was involved in a number of campaigns and projects and latterly supported the fight to keep beds in Wigton's community hospital.

Sandra Hodson, who is the long-term partner of John's son Michael, is a fellow town councillor and gave a glowing tribute to him at a meeting on Wednesday night.

She said: "Obviously Binky was a big part of this community. He will be sorely, sorely missed.

"He planted thousands and thousands of flowers in every corner of this town. He railroaded everybody into getting up on a Sunday morning to help him. I don't think there was a corner of this town he had missed.

"He will be a big, big miss not just to family but all of this town. Someone described him as the John Wayne of Wigton and I think that sums him up.

"He certainly took on a fight and never shied away from one, he fought all the way for this town.

"I would like to thank everyone for their kind words."

Following Sandra's words those in attendance stood for a minutes silence to pay their respects.

Binky leaves behind Mara, who he'd been married to since 1989, his two sons Michael and Thomas, three grandchildren and one great-grandson who was born last month.

During his time on Allerdale Council he sat on the authority's development panel.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.

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