The former Mayor of Barnet and Council Leader Brian Salinger has died five years after stepping down from public life.

He was a campaigner for the homeless and an advocate for Barnet’s pupil referral unit.

Brian served 32 years on Barnet Council after first being elected a Conservative councillor in 1986 for the Friern Barnet ward, then Oakleigh ward after boundary changes.

He retired at the end of his year as the 53rd mayor of the London Borough of Barnet since 1965, and passed away on Thursday, December 21. 

Tributes have been paid at Hendon civic centre to the father-of-three.

“We are shocked to hear of the sudden passing of Brian Salinger,” Barnet Conservative Group leader Dan Thomas said.

“Brian was a committed member of the community who continued supporting local organisations and civic events after retiring from public life. 

“His readiness to assist, compassionate advocacy and sense of humour will be missed by many people.’’

Council members have sent condolences to Brian’s wife Kate and the family.

They include council leader Barry Rawlings who said: “It was with a mixture of shock and sadness that we learnt of Brian Salinger’s passing. He gave a lot to the civic life of Barnet as well as his tireless work for Homeless Action in Barnet and the pupil referral unit.

“We will miss Brian, not just for his jokes and ties but also as a colleague who would work cross-party for the benefit of Barnet.”

Brian Salinger was elected Council Leader in 2005 and oversaw housing regeneration of four large estates and a programme of primary school improvements which led to a number being re-built. He was also the Cabinet member for housing and environmental health.

But his civic duties started well before being elected a councillor. Brian was chairman of the Barnet Health Authority in the early 1990s, at a time when plans were drawn up for the re-building of Barnet General Hospital.

He took an interest in education and was chairman of governors of Moss Hall nursery school in Finchley for more than 30 years and was also committee chairman of Barnet’s pupil referral unit.

He represented Barnet on Jesus Hospital Charitable Trust almshouse charity and the Valentine Poole charity.

The family had also known tragedy in 2011 when Brian’s father Donald Salinger, who was 95, died following a traffic accident crossing Finchley Road on his way home to The Bishops Avenue in Hampstead Garden Suburb. Brian was a serving councillor at the time.

Brian is survived by his wife Kate, who was also one-time councillor for Coppetts ward, and three children Emily, Stephen and Tom.