Tributes have been paid from across the council chamber to Swindon’s deputy mayor and Brian Mattock, who died at the weekend.

Coun Mattock was a long-serving Conservative councillor. A former deputy leader, he had held cabinet posts and chaired committees after first working as a council officer.

He was due to step up to succeed Garry Perkins as mayor in May – and was active in council and in committees until very recently despite managing a serious medical condition for some years.

Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard was saddened by the news.

He said: “Brian was really one of the good guys.

“I don’t think there will be anyone in the council who will have a bad word to say about him. Many people respected him for the calm and authoritative way he went about things, not only as a councillor, but as a council officer before that and as a community activist.

"He was on the committee of the Old Town festival for many years.”

Coun Renard continued: “He was a personal friend and was my deputy for three years when I first became leader.

"I couldn’t have wished for a better deputy or friend. He was always there when I needed advice or needed him to attend a meeting for me.

“He had a great sense of humour and was a good conversationalist whether in a meeting or just having a drink. I shall miss him.”

Coun Mattock’s successor as deputy leader Russell Holland said: “Brian served the residents of Swindon for decades first as an officer of the council and as a borough councillor.

“Brian was wise, patient and very experienced. He was always courteous, reliable, and friendly.

"He managed his medical condition with tremendous dignity and his characteristic charm. He was always publicly cheerful despite the tremendous difficulty his illness caused him. He was in many ways the model of a man who could handle any situation, whether good or bad, with dignity. We all benefited from his knowledge and good humour and he will be missed.

Former council leader Rod Bluh was a ward colleague and said: “I was very sad to hear of his passing. He was a good councillor, a good colleague and a good guy all round. He is yet another one taken far too soon.

“My thoughts are with his family. May the memories of better times help them deal with their loss.”

Labour group leader Jim Grant said: “Brian was a personal friend, and a very popular councillor on all sides of the chamber. I’m very sorry to see him go before his time. We extend our condolences to his family and his friends.

Another Labour councillor Jim Robbins added: “Brian was a huge help to me when I was first elected and was always courteous and kind to everyone. He rarely entered political point-scoring and was always measured and thoughtful in his contributions.

“He was very kind to me when I took on the role of scrutiny chair and offered wise and valuable advice to me. His contribution to the town over years of public service as both an officer and a councillor deserve to be recognised, and it is a real shame that he missed out on his chance to be mayor.

"He would have been a great ambassador for Swindon in the role."

Former councillor Fionuala Foley was both a ward colleague for a while in Old Town and Lawn and a long-term friend of Coun Mattock.

She said: “I was lucky in 2005 when Mike Bawden introduced me to Brian.

"Over the next 16 years he became a great colleague and an even better friend. Even when I stopped being a councillor two years ago this solid friendship remained, with regular lunches and chats. As you will hear from everyone, Brian was a hard-working and reliable man with a great sense of humour. We will all miss him.”

Great Western Hospital chief executive Kevin McNamara remembers Coun Mattock well from his time as cabinet member for adults' health and care.

He said: ”Brian was a gentleman to deal with, passionate about the health and care brief he held and the difference it could make to local communities. Many a health scrutiny committee meeting evening was spent in his company.”

Swindon Borough Council flew the flag on the civic offices at half-mast as a mark of respect to Coun Mattock when news of his death was made public.

Four decades of experience

Brian Mattock had more than 40 years’ experience of local government, both as an officer and then as an elected councillor. 

He started at Swindon Borough Council as an officer and in his career at Euclid Street had more than 20 years in senior roles as assistant, deputy or chief officer, with responsibility from more than 750 staff. 

In 2006 he was elected as a Conservative member for Old Town and Lawn. 
He held that seat and its successor Old Town for 10 years. In that time, he held cabinet roles as the lead member for  the environment, for people and places and then for adults’ health and social care. 

He was also deputy leader until losing his Old Town seat in 2016. He was returned by voters at the first available opportunity in Chiseldon and Lawn in 2018.

In the last three years Coun Mattock was chairman of the council’s resources and corporate overview and scrutiny committee, keeping an eye on how the council was run.

He was a member of the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Authority, and was vice-chairman of the licensing committee. 

Since May 2020 he served as the deputy to mayor Garry Perkins, and stood to succeed him this year.