Gurcharan Singh Sidhu, who represented Greets Green and Lyng ward on the council for 32 years between 1986 and 2018, passed away last week, aged 88.
Mr Sidhu was born in 1933 in Punjab, India. He came to live in England in June 1964, and became a British National in March 1970, finally settling in West Bromwich in 1974.
He taught at both Albion Road Junior School in Willenhall and at Ryders Green School in West Bromwich, later taking up a role in 1983 as a Chief Racial Equality Officer working towards better race relations in Sandwell.
He was Mayor of Sandwell in 2007-2008, and during his time as a councillor he acted as chairman of the education and audit committees and served on numerous other committees including the West Bromwich Town Improvement Board, Licensing Committee, Adult Social Care Scrutiny Board and Six Towns Scrutiny Committee.
Alderman Sidhu leaves behind a wife, two sons and four grandchildren. The Sandwell flag at the Council House in Oldbury was lowered in a mark of respect to him. Sandwell Council Leader, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael said:
“Alderman Sidhu passionately believed in a fairer, more equal society, and spent his life working for this. He was dedicated to social equality, race equality and equality and of opportunity. He worked tirelessly for many years to achieve these goals to make Sandwell a more equal and better place to live.”
Councillor Iqbal Padda, cabinet member for regeneration and growth, who also represents Greets Green and Lyng, added: "Alderman Sidhu was my mentor, very close friend and a great motivator for the community.
"He always believed in community cohesion. He was not just a friend, he was more like a guide and father figure to me who has always inspired me to do something positive for our local communities.
"He was honest, decent and a very committed human being, father and husband. I pray for his soul to rest in peace and my heart felt condolences go to his family."