Tributes paid to long-serving councillor will be ‘sadly missed’

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Tributes have been paid to a popular and long-serving former councillor who has died suddenly at the age of 78.

Keith Rhodes passed away peacefully in hospital on August 11 following a cardiac arrest, leaving behind his wife Betty and daughter Lynn.

Mr Rhodes served as a councillor for the Wakefield North ward between 1984 and 2010, having previously been on the old city council for five years from 1968.

He forged a reputation as one of the authority’s most hard-working members.

He sat on 14 committees, on top of his commitments to the Labour Party.

His wife of 56 years Betty, herself a representative for Wakefield North, said her husband was “her pride and joy”. She said: “He’s going to be very sadly missed by so many people - friends, neighbours and people from across the city.

“Everything he did as a councillor was for the people he represented. He was always very understanding of his constituents’ needs.

“He had the kind of personality that would help jolly people along when they weren’t feeling so great.”

The youngest of three brothers, Mr Rhodes was brought up in Normanton by his mother after his father died when he was just a week old.

He started work as a miner after leaving school before entering the construction industry, and he later became an engineer for the National Coal Board.

On top of his council work, Mr Rhodes is thought to have been one of the youngest magistrates in the country when he began sitting in the lower court in the late 1960s.

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box said: “Keith was a dedicated and much respected councillor who made a significant contribution to the district and to the lives of residents over a period of 31 years. He will be very much missed, and I would like to extend my sincere condolences to Coun Betty Rhodes and her family.”

His funeral will take place on Wednesday, August 29 at Wakefield Crematorium, the service starts at 1.40pm.