Tributes to man who spearheaded rebirth of a city

Sir Howard speaking to the BBC after he retired from the council after 46 years
Sir Howard was knighted in 2003 for his services to Manchester [BBC]

Tributes have been paid to former Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein in his death aged 71.

Sir Howard, from Cheetham Hill in the city, rose from humble beginnings as a pot washer at the town hall to serve as council boss for 20 years, spearheading the regeneration of the city after the IRA bombing of 1996.

The council, which he ran from 1998 to 2017, said Sir Howard died after a "period of illness".

Sir Howard was also honorary president of Manchester City, which paid tribute to his "incredible life of public service".

City's chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, said: "His vision and foresight to use sports-led regeneration to reinvigorate the city was unquestionably the catalyst which set Manchester on the path to becoming the successful city that it is today.

"His love for football and his passion for Manchester City in particular, was clear for all to see."

His family announced his death with "profound sadness".

They said in a statement: "Sir Howard's legacy shaped Manchester as the city we know, and he will forever be a part of Manchester's history.

"He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and the city he passionately served."

His family said he was born into a Jewish family with a younger brother and was a "proud grandfather" to seven grandchildren.

Current council Leader Bev Craig said Sir Howard "served Manchester with remarkable distinction" and "leaves an incredible legacy in the transformation of the city".

She added: "He will be remembered as a driving force in the city’s turnaround from post-industrial decline to the growing, confident and forward-looking city we see today."

The councillor also said "he played an integral role" in the "city centre’s resurgence after the bombing", including bringing the Commonwealth Games to Manchester, expanding the Metrolink, and regenerating east Manchester.

Sir Howard was also a former president of Lancashire County Cricket Club.

Chairman Andy Anson said he was "devastated" by his death.

"He has been my mentor, friend and supporter for many years, and I will greatly miss his sage advice, insight and our frequent, fun exchanges."

He added that the redevelopment of the stadium "over the last 15 years would not have happened without him".

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