A TAMWORTH Borough Councillor who was dedicated to a ‘better Tamworth’ has died after a short illness.
Cllr Steve Claymore, who was currently serving as the town’s Cabinet member for Heritage and Growth, passed away on Saturday, February 2, aged 62.
Cllr Claymore was first elected to Tamworth Borough Council in 2007 and has served the Castle ward for consecutive terms ever since thanks to his hard work – in his ward and on a borough and regional scale.
He was quickly appointed to the Cabinet and has served in the economic growth and planning portfolio for almost a decade, as well as being a member of, and chairing, several committees over the years.
Steve had a passion for Tamworth and has been a key driver of growth, development and investment, including the £6.1m Enterprise Quarter project and the refurbishment of Tamworth Assembly Rooms.
He also represented the interests of Tamworth on a regional scale on a number of external partnerships, and was a founding member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.
Steve leaves his wife, Rosemary, two children, grandchildren, family and many friends. Tributes have been pouring in for the man described as ‘the driving force behind our local economy for the last decade’.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Daniel Cook, said: “It was hearting breaking for me when I received the call that my good colleague and great friend had passed away. Steve was quite simply the best of us, the finest and most dedicated councillor I have ever witnessed serve our community and the wider West Midlands.
“He was the driving force behind our local economy for a decade; a decade which saw Tamworth achieve the biggest percentage fall in unemployment in the country, it is currently 0.3% – which amounted to 139 people in November last year. This is pure Steve Claymore, his dedication to a better Tamworth. On the Castle ward, residents knew him well and appreciated the efforts he made and the honesty he carried.
“There is a huge hole left that no one will ever be capable of filling, his were big shoes but he had an even bigger heart. Tamworth is a lesser place with him gone, but much, much better for having had him serve in the first place.”
Cllr Tina Clements told Tamworth Informed: “I have only served as a Councillor since 2010 and had the privilege to call Steve a friend. He was everything that a leader could want in a councillor because his passion for Tamworth and its residents was from the heart.
“He always put the reasoning behind many projects some of which he didn’t agree with. As a carpenter by trade he knew how things should fit together and be planned out. His integrity on planning issues was at the forefront of every decision.
“Steve was one of life’s true gents who leaves a great hole in all our lives both politically and personally. I saw Steve just the day before and willed him to keep fighting just a little longer because none of us were ready to let him go.
“My thoughts are with rosemary and the family at this sad time and I hope they can all find some comfort in knowing how much he was loved and respected. RIP Steve gone but not forgotten.”
Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr Peter Thurgood, said: “Steve was a true credit to our town. He was the perfect patch councillor, he knew every nook and cranny of Castle Ward where he served and he served the ward with a true passion. He fought for the rights and the issues of residents as if they were members of his own close family. He fought to improve our town centre and most residents could never know just how much effort he put into improving it.
“True to his nature, I received emails from him until days before he left us. He was someone we looked up to. His loss to this town is deeply heartfelt. My thoughts go out to Rosey and their family. I hope that the town remembers Steve long into the future for what he contributed to it.”
Chief executive of Tamworth Borough Council, Andrew Barratt, said: “I had the pleasure of working with Cllr Claymore for most of his 12 years as an elected member, and more latterly as a respected Cabinet member. He was pro Tamworth in all of his activities, and was held in high regard by all staff who came into contact with him. He was always the voice of reason, who selflessly put forward what he considered the best position for Tamworth in all of his activities. His counsel and direction will be missed.”
Tim Pile, Chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Steve was one of the founding members of the GBSLEP and has been a hugely committed Board Director since the beginning. He’s been a staunch supporter of our growth plans and a great ambassador for our agenda. He also helped to ensure that politics has not been present around our Board table, and that we have stayed focused on the task at hand.
“Steve was passionate about Tamworth, and of realising its growth potential. Critically he also wanted the borough to play its part within the Greater Birmingham economy and that of the wider West Midlands. He achieved much on both counts. Steve will be hugely missed in LEP-land. At a personal level, it was truly a privilege to have known him and to have worked with him, albeit for far too short a time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues at this incredibly sad time.”
As a mark of respect, the flag on top of Marmion House will be flown at half mast until the day of the funeral when Steve will be given a civic send off.
The final farewell will take place with a civic funeral at St Editha’s Church on Thursday, February 21, at 11am. This will be followed by a private committal at Fradley Crematorium. Afterwards there will be a celebration of Steve’s life at the Castle Hotel. Anyone wishing to pay their respects is invited to attend St Editha’s Church and the Castle Hotel celebration.
Tamworth Informed would like to extend their condolances to Cllr Claymore’s Family, Friends and Colleagues.