A POPULAR councillor who clocked up 49 years’ service before retiring due to ill health earlier this year has died at the age of 80.
Charles Wraith MBE, known to most as Charlie, was elected in 1974, and served on numerous committees and eight governing bodies.
He was also chair of the licensing board for 12 years, a role he particularly loved.
Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said: “Charlie served his community for almost 50 years after being elected in 1974.
“He was a big character in his ward area and at our council meetings, where he was never short of something to say.
“He also represented the whole borough in his year as mayor from 1997 to 1998 - a particularly special one as Barnsley was in the Premier League, and he enjoyed his ambassadorial role representing Barnsley in our twin towns.
“I know that one of Charlie’s proudest achievements was being made MBE in 2013 when he visited Buckingham Palace with his much-loved wife, Marilyn.
“In fact, he met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II five times, including attending two royal garden parties and a lunch event at Barnsley Town Hall.
“Locally, his tireless community work was also recognised with a Proud of Barnsley award with the Cudworth Environmental Group.”
During his time as a councillor, Cudworth saw a number of improvements, with Birkwood and Churchfield schools extended, and a new school, Cherrydale, built on Royston Road.
A fire station was built at West Green, as well as Cudworth and West Green bypass being constructed, and a large building containing 36 start-up units for businesses was created on Snydale Road.
Many projects and various committees were supported with grants, including the haven for wildlife, Carlton Marsh nature reserve, which boasts well over 100 species of bird, an abundance of wildflowers, and many species of butterfly.
Parks in Cudworth were also improved under Coun Wraith’s guidance, along with a new health centre on Carlton Street and three blocks of flats - Somerset Court, Rose Tree Court and Westhaven - were replaced with bungalows.
Charlie became the first councillor to in Barnsley to receive a distinguished service award in March when he stepped down from his role due to his battle against oesophagus cancer.
“I was honoured to be able to see Charlie recognised for his work and his years of dedication earlier this year, as he became the first recipient of the award,” Sir Steve added.
“It was a special presentation where he was given a medal and gift to recognise his sustained and outstanding service during his period of office and celebrate the positive impact that he made on both the council and his local community.
“Charlie was a close friend and much-valued fellow Cudworth ward councillor - he will be greatly missed by us all.”
His funeral will be held on Friday, December 22 at St Paul’s Church, Monk Bretton, at 11.30am.