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Tributes paid to council legend John Foster

A photo of John Foster and Graham Henderson at the official opening of Teesside University’s Foster Building in 2011

Tributes have been paid today following the death of highly-regarded former Middlesbrough Council Chief Executive John Foster.

Dr Foster served as Middlesbrough Borough Council’s most senior officer between 1973 and 1995.

During a long and varied career spanning a period of economic, social and cultural change, the widely admired civil servant oversaw the development of Coulby Newham, pursued a wide range of public and private sector partnerships and forged links with Teesside University.

Following his retirement in 1996 after local government reorganisation, Dr Foster was made a Freeman of the Borough of Middlesbrough, as well as serving as a former Deputy Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire and being made an OBE in 1986.

Dr Foster was awarded an honorary degree from Teesside University in 2007, also serving as a member of its board of governors and as chairman of South Tees NHS Hospitals Trust.

In 2011 the University named the Foster Building on Stephenson Street - home for Teesside University’s Centre for International Development and its health and safety team - in his honour.

Professor Paul Croney OBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Teesside University, said: “Our University community is saddened to learn of the death of Dr John Foster.

“He played an instrumental role in the development of the University, and was recognised with an Honorary Degree and a building named in his honour.

“His many years of dedicated service to this region have created a real legacy and will continue to inspire the people of Middlesbrough.  

“Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this time.”

Sue Page, Chief Executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “John was our chair for seven years from 1997 to 2004.

“The thoughts of everyone in the South Tees family are with John’s family at this sad time.”

Former Middlesbrough Mayor and Labour group leader Dave Budd said: “John was admired and liked by everyone who knew him.

“He worked tirelessly for Middlesbrough in a thoroughly professional and honourable way.”

The Erimus flag over Middlesbrough Town Hall will be flown at half mast as a mark of respect.