UCKFIELD is mourning the death of 'one of its champions'.
Former Mayor of Uckfield, Cllr Barrie Murray died on Saturday, aged 71, at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, while being treated for a long-standing heart condition.
Current Mayor, Cllr Louise Eastwood said: 'This is an indescribable loss for Uckfield.
'Barrie was a fantastic councillor, always putting his people first, never worrying about policy or procedure.
'I couldn't believe it when I heard as last week he was supporting me over the loss of my mum.
'When I took over as mayor he was 100 per cent supportive - never scared to tell me off, but if I got upset he would fling his arms around me and say, "What's wrong with you then?"
'He never held a grudge.'
Cllr Ian Smith added: 'I will miss Barrie's company and his scything criticism so very much.
'He'd say "you're so stupid" then we'd adjourn up to the Brickmakers' Arms for a drink.'
Former Sussex Express editor and Uckfield resident Paul Watson also paid tribute. He said: 'Cllr Murray was a straight-talker who stood up for Uckfield.
'He would move heaven and earth to try and ensure decisions were made for what he saw as the good of the town.
'Uckfield has lost one of its champions.'
His widow Sheila said: 'He was slow to anger but when he did get angry I headed for the hills.
'He was totally honest but could not suffer fools - I think that's why he became an independent council member.'
Barrie was born in Torquay, moved to Scotland, North Cheam in Surrey and Uckfield in the mid-1960s.
He was a highly-skilled carpet technician who worked for various retailers and wholesalers.
After retiring he became a self employed agent in the carpet industry.
Throughout much of his working life his business territory extended throughout the whole of the UK, Sheila told the Express.
But he was best-known for his commitment to Uckfield, his tireless work on behalf of the town and his enthusiasm for all sports, particularly involving young players.
Barrie was elected mayor of Uckfield each year from 2001 to 2006, subsequently continued as a town councillor and was a member of several committees including planning.
He supported Uckfield Football Club from the 1960s onwards, managed and coached Nutley and Maresfield clubs and was heavily involved with children's sport.
In his spare time he was an enthusiastic golfer, playing at Seaford Head and supported Torquay United Football Club.
Sheila added: 'After each match he'd receive loads of phone calls and laughed, saying "we've lost again".'
He leaves two sons, Stephen and Stuart, two grandsons and two
Barrie Murray's funeral service will be held at Holy Cross Church, Uckfield at 2pm on Friday, February 6 and afterwards at Uckfield Football Club. All friends are welcome