POPULAR former Mayor of St Helens Mike Doyle died suddenly on Tuesday evening.

Mike, a long-serving Rainhill councillor and deputy leader of St Helens Labour Group, died last night in Whiston Hospital of a suspected heart attack.

Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, led the tributes.

The Labour MP for St Helens South says he is personally deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Cllr Doyle’s death.

Mike Doyle, an ex leader of St Helens MBC, was mayor in 1989-90 and a former board member of Northwest Development Agency.

He was an active magistrate and involved with numerous community groups in Rainhill where he was a familiar face to many residents.

In recent years he also became an active champion for disabled people and less than a month ago sent a letter to the St Helens Star complaining of changes to Chalon Way which had impacted on disabled access to Shopmobility to hire wheelchairs.

He had also been one of the key figures in an earlier attempt to fight off a takeover bid for Pilkington and as council leader presided over a period when many of the foundations were put down for the seismic changes which have swept through St Helens in the last 20 years.

Shaun Woodward said: “Mike Doyle was a wonderful man and was deeply respected and much loved by many people not just here in St Helens but across Merseyside and the Northwest.

“Mike’s sudden death last night will have left many people deeply shocked.

“Many people will be able to tell their own stories of the role Mike has played in making Rainhill and St Helens a better place for everyone.

“I know that his commitment was enormous.

“Right now my thoughts are with his wife and all those lucky enough to have been one of their friends.

“I am deeply saddened and will miss him terribly”

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