TRIBUTES have been paid to interim Worcestershire County Council chief executive Steve Stewart who died suddenly at the age of 64.
Mr Stewart passed away overnight last Wednesday evening and his sudden death came as a shock to all those at County Hall who worked with the experienced chief.
He joined the council last May after a career lasting more than 40 years in local government. He was the chief executive at three different councils – York, Northumberland and at Worcestershire.
After replacing former chief executive Clare Marchant, the respected local government chief pledged to build on the existing strengths of the authority and provided leadership during the fall-out from the children’s services debacle which saw the Government inspector slam County Hall chiefs for the handling of the service.
Mr Stewart was due to hand over the reins at County Hall to new chief executive Paul Robinson later this month.
Coun Adrian Hardman, deputy leader of the council said: “This is very sad news. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.
“Steve made a big contribution to this council during his time with us and for that we are really grateful. He will be sadly missed by everyone.”
Council chairman Coun Anne Hingley said: “I am deeply saddened by the news of Steve Stewart’s passing.
“I am extremely grateful to Steve for his excellent service to Worcestershire and the County Council. I worked closely with Steve in relation to Children’s Services and his experience and input were invaluable.
“I send our condolences to his friends and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult and sad time.”
Writing on Twitter, the county’s former director of adult services Sander Kristel said: “Very shocked and saddened by the news Steve Stewart has died.
“A lovely man with always an interesting story to tell.”