Campaigner dies in tragic car crash

John Stoker

John Stoker

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A well-known politician and activist from South Ribble has died after being involved in a car crash.

Ex-Labour councillor and political campaigner John Stoker died in hospital in Manchester last week.

The 77-year-old was the passenger in a green Vauxhall Corsa when it collided with a silver BMW in Davyhulme, Manchester, on May 20.

He had been in critical condition for 10 days before doctors turned off his life support at around 1.30am on Tuesday.

Today, friends and former colleagues paid tribute to a “tireless campaigner” and “community champion.”

Former South Ribble councillor Jim Hothersall said: “He was a passionate man who cared about everything and everyone, especially the people of Penwortham.

“He fought tooth and nail for what he believed in and he always had people at his heart.

“It is a sad loss for the whole community.

“We’ve lost a real champion.”

His wife, Coun Jenny Hothersall, who represents the Middleforth ward at South Ribble Council, added: “He’d do anything for anybody and always stood up for the underdog.”

Mr Stoker, who preferred to be addressed as Comrade, was an eccentric character in South Ribble, where he sat on Penwortham’s town council for a number of years.

He was a regular at the majority of council meetings at the Civic Centre on West Paddock and was well-known for his forthright views and holding councillors to account.

Later in life he campaigned for various causes, including calling for better monitoring of radiation levels in Penwortham amid fears about discharges from British Nuclear Fuel’s Springfields Site.

In the 1990s he even tried to take Preston Council to the High Court to block the authority selling a wildlife haven at Longton Marsh.

The accident on May 20 took place at around 8.15pm on Lostock Road, in Davyhulme.

The 22-year-old driver of the Corsa, who is believed to be a friend of Mr Stoker’s, was not injured in the crash.

He was originally arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving but later de-arrested.

The driver of the BMW suffered minor injuries.

Det Insp Frank Morris said: “This collision has led to very tragic consequences.

“We are continuing to investigate the circumstances leading to the incident.”