Page last updated at 09:55 GMT, Saturday, 28 June 2008 10:55 UK

Party as Sir Cyril Smith turns 80

Cyril Smith (Pic: MEN)
Sir Cyril still works for charities and his party in Rochdale

A special gala concert is being held to celebrate the 80th birthday of former Rochdale MP Sir Cyril Smith.

Friends and colleagues will pay tribute to the larger-than-life character at Rochdale Town Hall on Saturday.

A pie supper will be served before performances by Jimmy Cricket and the Rochdale Youth Orchestra.

Liberal Democrat Sir Cyril won the Rochdale seat in a by-election for the Liberals in 1972 and served the constituency until he retired in 1992.

During that time he was appointed chief whip for the Liberals.

'An inspiration'

He is still active in the town on behalf of his party and local charities.

Rochdale's present Lib Dem MP, Paul Rowen, said: "I have worked with Sir Cyril since I joined the Young Liberals over 30 years ago.

"He has been an amazing ambassador for our town and a true inspiration for me personally."

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg also passed on his best wishes.

He said: "You were a beacon for our party in the 70s and 80s and continue to be an inspiration for the people of Rochdale and many others."

Local party officials have also set up a birthday tribute page on the social networking website, Facebook, for people to leave their best wishes.

Sir Cyril 'recovering' after fall
18 Feb 06 |  Manchester

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