Tributes paid to Cyril Finney who helped to drive through key new roads
TRIBUTES have been paid to a former councillor who played an instrumental role in securing road improvements for North Staffordshire.
Cyril Finney, who has died at the age of 90, served as a Conservative city councillor for more than 20 years and also had a spell representing the Trentham area on Staffordshire County Council.
It led to him becoming chairman of the county's highways committee, where he persuaded Tory colleagues to throw their political weight behind proposals for the Etruria Way development, below.
The dual carriageway, which links the A500 at Etruria with Festival Park, is now one of the main commuter routes through North Staffordshire.
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Mr Finney was also heavily involved in the National Garden Festival in Stoke-on-Trent and championed many other local causes during his time as a councillor for Trentham and Hanford.
His daughter Carol Casey, who grew up in the Potteries, but now lives in Eastbourne, said: "He wanted to make a difference to people's lives there.
"He was quite proud of the job he did and the fact he held the seat continuously for such a long time. It reflected the service he was providing to the community."
The father-of-four served on the city council between 1965 and 1988, rising to become Conservative group leader. He sat on the county council between 1977 and 1981 and was later made a Freeman of Stoke-on-Trent. The plaque awarded for being granted freedom of the city was on display at his bedside when he died on April 25. He passed away at a nursing home in Eastbourne after battling cancer.
Mr Finney, whose father was a miner, was born in Hanley and lived for many years in Hanford with his wife Rose.
Mrs Finney, a former school cook at St Teresa's Catholic Primary, in Trent Vale, and Shelton Nursery, died six years ago after also succumbing to cancer.
During his time on the city council, the veteran politician had earned the nickname, The Lone Ranger. It was because he was one of only a handful of Tory councillors and so was often the only member of the party present at committee meetings.
Fellow Conservative Ross Irving, who was also a city councillor for Trentham and Hanford, recalled working alongside him.
He said: "The thing I always remember about Cyril was he was good company. He enjoyed politics and was terribly enthusiastic. He was a hands-on councillor and put his constituents first. People would turn up on his doorstep and he never turned them away."
Outside of politics, Mr Finney was a manager at Stoke-on-Trent-based engineering firm Brookfields. He also helped establish the Royal British Legion branch in Trent Vale and Hanford, and represented Hanford at cricket and bowls.
His granddaughter, Angela Salt, aged 43, who now lives in Southport, said: "I grew up in the Trent Vale and Trentham area. I remember the Silver Jubilee in 1977. The D road had just been opened and we were sitting there, waving flags because the Queen was coming. I felt especially proud because my grandad worked on the highways committee."
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