Garth Harkness

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North Ward on Oldham Council Learn more

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My tribute to the late Derek Heffernan

by Garth Harkness on 11 January, 2020

It is with great sadness that we have said our final farewells to Derek Heffernan. Derek was my ward colleague, my mentor and my friend.

I first served with Derek in 2011 on Saddleworth parish council and had fond memories of his strong grasp of figures. Without fail Derek would always have some questions ready on the financial statements. I became Derek’s ward colleague in Saddleworth North in 2012. Derek was easy to get along with and his experience was eminence. When you discussed an issue with him he could recall some similar situation in 1998 and had a story to follow. Derek was keen on his stories and my favourite were often about his time as a VAT man for the Inland Revenue.

Derek had a quiet and understated authority. His manner was friendly but assertive.He could work across parties with ease and command respect from all quarters. In a time where there is a lot of toxicity and mistrust in politics Derek’s conduct should prove a valuable lesson.If more politicians were like Derek then we would have far more trust in politics. This is one of the reasons I guess that he never lost an election in over 30 years.

Derek was passionate about Saddleworth and worked hard as a councillor both on Oldham council and Saddleworth parish council He fundraised so much for many charities and in particular McMillan. As part of fundraising his bacon butties were legendary in Saddleworth

Derek was a primary school governor and was incredibly active where he put his heart and soul into the role.He was well respected by staff and pupils alike.

In terms of Fire and Rescue Derek was the Lib Dems Steve Williams  Derek has served as Chair of Saddleworh Parish council ,mayor of Oldham, Mayor of Austerlands and Father Christmas

Derek suffered a fair bit in the last couple of years or so and not being able to always be in the same residence as Di was really hard for him.Derek was an independent man, sometimes frustratingly so.He would give so much help but not ask for it.

Derek is what I would say is a true definition of a Liberal. As well as a great knowledge of the community he had a great knowledge of wine and beer too.He was kind and warm and positive. He was so easy to talk to

Derek will be greatly missed.

Rest in Peace my friend. 

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