Councillors pay tribute to much loved Freeman of the Borough Danny Connellan
Councillors from all parties have paid tribute to a former deputy leader and honorary freeman of the borough who died this week.
Danny Connellan was elected in 1971 as a councillor in Cannon Hill ward and was later elected to represent Figges Marsh in 1986, until he stood down in 2006.
During his 23 years of service Mr Connellan served as deputy leader of the council and as a senior member of several committees, particularly focused on the area of town planning.
Mr Connellan was instrumental in successfully negotiating the building of the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden and the relocation of Tooting and Mitcham Football Club.
He was also involved in the Schools Re-organisation project which resulted in a private finance initiative to fund the transfer from a three-tier system to the current two-tier system.
In 2006 Mr Connellan was made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough.
Councillor David Williams, Mayor of Merton, said: “I have had the honour of serving alongside Danny Connellan as a Merton Councillor for many years.
“He had a tremendous spirit which he always brought to his speeches and they were enjoyed by both sides of the chamber.
“He will be sadly missed.”
Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of the Council, said: “When Danny left in 2006, Merton lost a great councillor.
“We now mourn the loss of a great man.
“He was someone who took pride in his role as councillor and enjoyed helping to improve the lives of people in Merton.
“My thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Councillor Debbie Shears, leader of the Conservative group, said: “Merton has lost one of its great servants to public life with the death of Danny.
“He was respected by all who knew him and was always the gentleman regardless of political differences.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time."
Councillor Peter Southgate, leader of the Merton Park Independents said: “As a newly elected councillor in 2002, I always looked forward to Danny's history lessons on the early days of the borough to enliven council meetings.
“On a personal level I found him to be both helpful and charming."
Leader of Liberal Democrats, Councillor Iain Dysart said: “In memory of a character who will be very much missed but never forgotten.
“Merton will be poorer without him.”