A FORMER mayor who saved a rugby club from closure has died after losing his battle with cancer.
Stephen Pearson, a Liberal Democrat councillor and former mayor of Calderdale, was 47.
He was born in Huddersfield and attended Huddersfield New College before studying for a degree.
Mr Pearson was acting chief executive of Halifax rugby league club after putting together a package which saved the club from closure last year.
He was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this month and received a rousing reception at The Shay when he left hospital to attend last Friday's Super League game against Huddersfield in a wheelchair.
Doctors initially suspected that he might have kidney stones or a back problem.
Michael Steele, speaking on behalf of the club, said: "Thanks to his enormous hard work and boundless energy, Halifax RLFC has a future it did not have a year ago.
"It is a great shame he will not be here to see that through."
The club will hold a minute's silence before its game against London Broncos tonight.
Mr Pearson leaves his wife of 23 years, Jennifer, whom he met at university.
He lived in Sowood and was a councillor in Greetland and Stainland before winning the Mixenden seat in Halifax for the Liberal Democrats.
He became Calderdale's youngest mayor at the age of 38 in 1994. He gained an engineering degree at Bradford University and ran an engraving business.