Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 14:22 UK

Lord Bruce-Lockhart dies aged 66

Sandy Bruce-Lockhart
Sandy Bruce-Lockhart became a life peer in 2006

English Heritage chairman and former Local Government Association leader Sandy Bruce-Lockhart has died in hospital, aged 66.

Lord Bruce-Lockhart, who had also been the Conservative leader of Kent County Council, had cancer.

LGA chairman Simon Milton said local government would be a "poorer place" without him.

English Heritage, where he had been chairman for the past year, praised his "great contribution".

They credited him with securing "a major breakthrough in our plans for Stonehenge, convincing ministers that a new, affordable scheme was worth government backing".

'Urbane charm'

Kent County Council leader Paul Carter said he would be "enormously missed" and described him as charismatic and "the leading architect of the transformation and improvement in local government in recent years".

"He proved that beneath his urbane charm and courtesy lay his conviction and determination to deliver what he believed was right," he said.

National and local politicians from across the political spectrum will miss Sandy's zest for life, his courage and his determination to fight for what he believed was right for people
Sir Simon Milton
LGA Chairman

"His knighthood and subsequent peerage were just rewards for the significant contribution he made through local government and the Conservative Party nationally."

He came to Kent in 1968 to farm, having run farms in South Africa and Australia, and said he was spurred into politics in 1989, by opposition to the planned Channel Tunnel rail link route.

Knighted in 2002, he was made a life peer in 2006 and took on the chairmanship of English Heritage in August 2007.

'Towering figure'

His successor at the LGA, Sir Simon Milton, said: "Local government will be a poorer place now that Sandy has passed away.

"National and local politicians from across the political spectrum will miss Sandy's zest for life, his courage and his determination to fight for what he believed was right for people.

"His strong social conscience, wonderful sense of humour, and a passionate commitment to public service offered a template for all politicians from whichever party to aspire to."

Lord Bruce-Lockhart leaves a wife, Tess, and three children.

Maidstone and the Weald MP Ann Widdecombe said, in his role as president of the Maidstone Conservative Association, he had given her much support and advice.

"Sandy Bruce-Lockhart was towering figure in local government and his work has left a lasting impact.

"It is a pity that his career in the House of Lords has been cut so short, as I am sure that he would have been a distinguished member of the next Conservative government," she said.

"My heart goes out to Tess and all the family."


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