Aurelia and I were very sad to hear of David Kirk's sudden death,and send to his wife Tracey and to their sons Mark and Alex our deepest sympathy.
David was a key member of the team running Hampshire County Council, being responsible for Children's Services. Not only did he have responsibility for the County's schools, but also for the former section of Social Services which now deals with Children's Services.
He took his responsibilities seriously, and worked long hours at the Castle.
He was a staunch defender of the role of the local education authority in managing schools, and was fearless in challenging Ministers of any Party who sought to change that relationship. He had to take a number of difficult decisions, as the pressure from central government to contain local government expenditure grew - but took them sensitively and in the best interests of those he represented.
He was a close personal friend, and someone I often turned to for advice on local issues. He was a regular attender at the joint advice bureaus I hold with local councillors, and he was on duty only last Saturday helping constituents on issues concerning Hampshire County Council.
He was a big man on the local political scene and will be much missed.