Tributes paid to former Lord Mayor

The former Lord Mayor of Liverpool who led the city’s first official Pride parade has died.

Former councillor and first citizen of Liverpool between 2010-11, Hazel Williams, died on Monday. A long-time Liberal Party member, Mrs Williams was the first figurehead of the city to lead a Pride march during her year in office.

Tributes have been paid to the mother and grandmother who served as both a city and county councillor.

In a post online, Liverpool Council commemorated her service. It said, “It is with great sadness to report that former Lord Mayor, Hazel Williams, has passed away.

“A ward councillor for Tuebrook & Stoneycroft for 10 years, Hazel served as Lord Mayor in 2010-11. The Union Flag at Liverpool Town Hall is now at half-mast in her memory.

“May she rest in peace.”

In August 2010, Liverpool’s first official Pride march took place after years of unofficial events. Former councillor Williams was among those to take part, leading the procession through the city streets and spoke of her delight at dancing through the streets with a samba dance group.

Mrs Williams, who retired from active politics in 2015, caused a stir by taking part in an anti-austerity march while in her civic role. She made a brief return to the frontline to stand as the Liberal Party candidate in the 2019 general election in the Garston and Halewood constituency.

Tributes were paid by former colleague and long-time friend, Cllr Steve Radford. He said, “It is with great sadness that I am sharing that my closest friend and loyal colleague of over 45 years Hazel Williams has passed away.

“I can not hide my shock and feeling both a personal loss, a loss to our community and the wider city. Hazel was a dedicated county councillor and later ward councillor for Tuebrook and Newsham Park.

“She was one of the founding trustees for the Tuebrook Hope Group, founded in 2000, and served as our meticulous treasurer. She was without doubt an outstanding Lord Mayor.

“She led the first Liverpool Pride March through the city, an expression of her personal commitment to equality and dignity for all. She took the initiative and as Lord Mayor made a point of greeting all the major cruise ship arrivals to our city.

“Her dedication to our community, city and personal sense of integrity and dedication was beyond question. Our prayers are with all her family.”

Cllr Joe Dunne added, “It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of our colleague, ex-Lord Mayor and dear friend, Hazel Williams. Hazel’s leadership, dedication and commitment to her community was unmatched.”

Current deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Richard Kemp, said, “Hazel was a much respected member of the city council while being a member of its smallest party. She showed a fierce passion for her city and took up her role at a crucial time for Liverpool when it began to face the austerity agenda from central government.

“She was unique in that she led an anti-austerity demonstration as Lord Mayor in full robe and chains. Hazel liked everyone and she will be greatly missed.”

Image: Hazel Williams

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