MIKE Bloomfield, the last Mayor of Huntingdon and Godmanchester before two separate town councils were created in the early 1980s, has died after a long illness. He was 73.

Michael Anthony Bloomfield OBE, pictured, died peacefully at Hinchingbrooke Hospital on Saturday morning. He leaves a widow, Austrian-born Walpurga (Purgi), four children - Catherine, Francis, Robert and Patricia - and eight grandchildren.

During his term as mayor, in 1981 and 1982, he was responsible for insisting that the town council fund the repair of the roof over the Queen Elizabeth School in Godmanchester, former Huntingdon town clerk Ted Bocking told The Hunts Post.

"It was called 'Bloomfield's Folly' at the time - but it was certainly not a folly: it saved the building."

Mr Bocking, who succeeded Mr Bloomfield as chairman of the Huntingdon Freemen's Charity in the early 2000s when ill-health forced his retirement, added: "There's a lot about Huntingdon that we have to be thankful to Mike Bloomfield for."

His achievements included the replacement of the Sebastopol cannon in George Street, the Armada Beacon on Castle Hill and the statue of Minerva on Huntingdon's Commemoration Hall roof.

Mr Bloomfield, who moved from London to Huntingdon in 1965, served on Huntingdon Borough Council in the 1960s and on Huntingdon's town council between 1979 and 1991.

He was also a member of Huntingdonshire District Council between 1992 and 1996.

Mr Bloomfield was chairman of Huntingdon Constituency Conservative Association when Sir Peter Brown became Sir John Major's agent in 1985.

"Mike was a very kind and compassionate man, acerbic in wit - though not everybody understood his sense of humour. You could not wish to meet a nicer and more generous bloke," Mr Bocking said.

Labour stalwart Jim Lomax also had fond memories. "He was a good opponent for more years than I can remember, on the district council as well as the town council," he said.

Mr Bloomfield, who lived in Desborough Road, Hartford, and moved to Great Stukeley in 1991, was a management accountant who was company secretary for Harcostar before working for Marshall of Cambridge for 26 years, becoming managing director of Marshall Aerospace. He retired in 1998.

He was a lay reader and eucharistic minister in the Catholic church, and was treasurer of the Huntingdon parish of St Michael for many years. He also served as a governor of local schools, including St Peter's.

In addition to his work with the Freemen's Charity, he was a director and honorary bursar of the Margaret Beaufort Institute in Cambridge, and was heavily involved in fundraising for the Papworth Trust's multi-million pound Saxongate Centre in Huntingdon.

He was appointed an OBE in 1994.

INFORMATION: A requiem mass will take place at St Michael's Roman Catholic Church, Huntingdon, on Tuesday November 8, beginning at 2pm, followed by burial at Huntingdon Cemetery in Primrose Lane. Family flowers only. Donations to 'Hinchingbrooke HCT - Charity' can be sent to funeral directors William Peacock and Sons, Castle Hill Lodge, Castle Moat Road, Huntingdon PE29 3PG.