A friend I shall not look upon the likes of again

MANY readers will be saddened to hear of the death of Paddy Cosgrove.

Paddy represented Whitley Bay as an elected member for many years, originally on Whitley Bay Council, then North Tyneside.

A lifelong member of the Labour Party, he was also selected to fight the Tynemouth Constituency four times between 1979 and 1992.

He narrowed the Conservative majority from 7,564 to 597 and only a change in his family circumstances led to him declining the opportunity to contest the seat again in 1997 when, ironically, the seat fell to Labour in the Blair landslide.

Paddy would have been a fine MP.

The ward he represented was naturally Conservative, but Paddy was always returned with a significant majority until his resignation in the 1990s.

This was a strong reflection of his popularity, based on his unremitting efforts on behalf of the people of the area.

He funded and helped deliver a regular newsletter and held surgeries and street visits every Saturday and wrote thousands of letters on behalf of residents.

If there was a clash between the interests of his electorate and his party in the council, he put the people of Whitley Bay first.

Politicians are held in low regard in our country. If more were like Paddy, the opposite would be true.

He was hard-working, selfless and highly principled.

He never compromised his beliefs for personal or political expediency.

Every penny of his claimed expenses were legitimate and spent on running his council activities.

Much more was donated to the Labour Party and charity.

Paddy was also a highly skilled barrister and a Recorder in the courts of the north.

He was the first Queen’s Counsel in the north east and rose to be Head of his Chambers.

He was a magnificent advocate and was chosen both to prosecute and defend in many high-profile cases.

He used his oratory to great effect and his political speeches, always unrehearsed, were intelligent, thoughtful, clear and witty.

He was also a skilled writer and, of course, a regular correspondent to the News Guardian.

He was passionate and angry at any injustice, unfairness or discrimination; an idealist who sought equality of opportunity and a champion of the hard-pressed.

Paddy was a warm-hearted, charming man who was great company.

I was lucky enough to spend many hours in his company, over a beer or a Jameson’s.

He had great charm, perhaps a product of the Irish ancestry of which he was proud.

A husband to Joan for more than 25 years, a father and grandfather, he devoted much of his time to his family.

As his health failed, he maintained his good humour and optimism.

Many in Whitley Bay will miss him and, as someone who was proud to be his friend, I believe, in the words of Hamlet, “I shall not look upon his like again”.


Chevington Grove

Whitley Bay