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The leader of Poole Borough Council, Brian Leverett died suddenly on Friday after falling ill.
The Council has issued the following statement:
It is with immense sadness and deep sorrow that Borough of Poole has to announce the death of Cllr Brian Leverett, Leader of the Council.
Cllr Leverett was taken ill suddenly earlier today and sadly passed away at Poole Hospital shortly after.
The Union Flag at the Civic Centre will be flying at half mast as a mark of respect.
Cllr Leverett had served as a councillor since 1983 and had been Leader of the Council since 2003.
The Mayor of Poole, Cllr Chris Bulteel, has paid tribute to Cllr Leverett on behalf of all members and staff of Borough of Poole.
Cllr Bulteel said: "Brian was deeply committed to Poole. He gave many years of selfless service to the town and his passing is a very sad loss to Poole. He will be hugely missed by the Council and all who knew him, especially those in his local community."
John McBride, Chief Executive of Borough of Poole, said: "Brian was a hugely popular and immensely respected figure within the Council. He devoted more than 25 years of his life to serving the Council and the people of Poole. His passing is a huge loss to Poole and he will be missed by everyone of us at the Council who worked with him for many years."
Cllr Don Collier, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: "We are all devastated by Brian's passing. Brian always put the best interests of Poole and its residents first and we will continue this work as he would have wished."
Cllr Mike Brooke, Leader of Liberal Democrat Group, Borough of Poole, said: "It is a great shock and very sad news. Cllr Leverett dedicated his life to the Council and to the town and he will be deeply missed."
Cllr David Gillard, Leader of the Independent Group, Borough of Poole, said: "I have known Brian since childhood and I am extremely sorry to hear this sad news. He will be greatly missed by the town."
Cllr Leverett was born in Poole and educated at Oakdale and Poole Grammar Schools. He worked in industry as a senior chemist and a college lecturer.
Councillor John Beesley, Deputy Leader of Bournemouth Council, said
“On behalf of everyone at Bournemouth I would like to express my great shock and sadness at the sudden passing of Council Leader, Brian Leverett.
“He was an immensely dutiful figure, completely dedicated to public service and served the Borough of Poole with great pride and passion. His life was dedicated to serving the people first and foremost and he was loyal to the core. What’s more, Councillor Leverett was remarkably humble.
“The people of Poole have lost a truly exceptional gentleman.”