Terry Crowe finally gets his chance to be Mayor
AFTER losing his seat just weeks before he was due to become Lord Mayor eight years ago, veteran councillor Terry Crowe fought cancer, a heart attack and near-fatal blood poisoning.
Now the 66-year-old has declared himself 'fighting fit' as he finally prepares to be sworn in as the city's first citizen.
It follows a lifetime of civic service and disabled rights work by the grandfather-of-eleven, who has lived with disability since contracting polio at the age of two.
He will succeed Terry Follows to become the 84th Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent at the city council's annual meeting next week after deputy Majid Khan withdrew over an investigation into his conduct.
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Mr Crowe, who represents Eaton Park, was due to take the chains in 2004 but the dad-of-three lost his seat amid national disaffection with Tony Blair's Labour.
Before re-election in 2011, Mr Crowe was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Radiotherapy had to be suspended after he suffered a major heart attack, and then blood poisoning caused by a shoulder operation proved almost fatal.
On three occasions he was resuscitated from the point of death.
Now his cancer is in remission and, with the support of wife Linda, he is preparing to showcase his disability campaigning on a citywide platform.
He said: "I'm just so pleased and grateful to still be here and to be fighting fit again. Nobody can be happier than I am to receive this great honour.
"I feel very honoured that people are allowing me to take on the position of Lord Mayor. It is one of trust and I want to spend my 12 months promoting the city.
"I think these are exciting times for the city and I'm proud to be a part of it. There are a lot of good people in Stoke-on-Trent.
"I'm also very pleased for my wife Linda, who is my carer. Last time she got all her party dresses ready to be mayoress. I'll never forget having to tell her to hang them up as they wouldn't be needed."
Born in Springfields in 1945, Mr Crowe studied at St Teresa's Primary School and St Patrick's Secondary Modern before becoming a glass blower. He spent most of his working life as an engineer at Simon-Hartley's in Etruria, also serving as a shop steward, before declining health led to retirement at 40.
By that time Mr Crowe, who lives in Bucknall, was already a Labour member and he rose to prominence as a Staffordshire County Council member, becoming chief whip and fire committee chairman.
Mr Crowe was made an honorary alderman in Staffordshire shortly after being elected to Stoke-on-Trent City Council when it became a unitary authority in 1996.
He was also a governor at Berry Hill High School for about 30 years.
Mr Crowe, who is wheelchair-bound, plans to promote disabled rights and support organisations he is involved in, including the city's disabled angling club, prostate cancer group and polio fellowship.
Wife Linda, aged 56, a former lingerie shop worker, added: "I am very proud and we're looking forward to it. Terry has worked very hard over the years and deserves this."
Labour councillor Sheila Pitt, who represents Bentilee and Ubberley, will be appointed Deputy Lord Mayor.