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Published 13th Mar 2012

Stewart Park

A memorial to popular MP Ashok Kumar is being created in a historic Middlesbrough park.

The commemorative bench and tree will be installed in Stewart Park as a lasting tribute to the MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland who died in March, 2010.

Dr Kumar’s brother Ravi Kumar Sahnan will be at the Park on Saturday, March 17 to meet park staff and take part in the planting ceremony.

Dr Kumar said: “Ashok’s family would like to thank his former parliamentary team for their continued support and guidance.

“We are honoured for Ashok to be remembered by the installation of this second bench in his memory and thank Middlesbrough Council for their help in facilitating this.

“It will be a reminder for us of his energy and passion for his interests namely politics, philosophy, history, science and his love for the North East and much, much more.

“He demonstrated leadership with humility, inspiring and enriching our lives as a consequence.

“We continue to reflect two years after his death of the way we felt enthused by his dreams.

“He was a great man in our eyes and will remain in our heart forever.”

Dr Kumar originally trained as a scientist, and came to Teesside to work for BSC at their local laboratories.

He settled in Marton and became a member of Middlesbrough Council in the 1980s before his election to Parliament.

He first won the former Langbaurgh seat in 1991 but lost it at the 1992 General Election. He was subsequently re-elected at the 1997 General Election for the new seat of Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland where he served until his death.

Tom Blenkinsop, who won the Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland seat at the 2010 General Election, said: “This is a poignant ceremony which comes two years after Ashok’s tragic death.

“I know that Stewart Park was a special place for him, and that he was always keen to help both Middlesbrough Council and the Friends of Stewart Park preserve, protect and enhance this green oasis just a few hundred yards from his home.

“As his successor MP, I - and my constituency staff - always try to measure myself against Ashok’s spirit, zeal and dedication.

“This is a high benchmark, but it is one he would have wanted to see.”

Councillor Brenda Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Public Health and Sport, said: “Ashok was a tireless MP whose support for this area and its people was unwavering.

“He loved Middlesbrough and its heritage, so it is fitting that this tribute should be in Stewart Park, close to the birthplace of one of the area’s most famous figures.”



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