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Exeter’s twin town in Russia pays tribute to former Council Leader

Published: 15 October 2021

Peter Edwards Peter Edwards

Tributes have been paid to former Council Leader Pete Edwards by the Deputy Mayor of Exeter’s Russian twin town Yaroslavl.

The former leader died in hospital following a short illness last weekend. He served the city as a councillor for 30 years and was Leader of the Council from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.

In a letter of condolence, Deputy Mayor of Yaroslavl Viacheslav Gavrilov said: “I would like to express my sincere condolences on the recent passing of Peter Edwards, the much respected resident of Exeter and sincere friend of Yaroslavl.

“Peter Edwards devoted several decades serving Exeter as a councillor. During his time as Leader many events took place in the sphere of twinning relations for our two cities.”

He added: “Peter Edwards visited our city. We got to know him personally, noting his professionalism, the experience of a politician and the wisdom of a man.

“He will be remembered by citizens of Yaroslavl.”

During his time as Leader, Exeter underwent many changes and significantly expanded its economy.

As a former bus driver, he was able to attend the opening of the Council-funded new Bus Station earlier this year and saw the near completion St Sidwell’s Point Leisure Centre, which is due to open in the coming months.

The former Leader was responsible for many of the city’s successes including bring the 2015 Rugby World Cup to Exeter and the Radio 1 Big Weekend to the city in 2017.

He launched a programme of building new council houses to the low energy Passivhaus standard, cutting carbon emissions and lifting residents out of fuel poverty.

As Leader he introduced the Living Wage at the Council and was key in attracting key retailers such as John Lewis and IKEA to the city.

Further tributes will be paid to the former Leader at the start of the Council meeting at the Corn Exchange on Monday.

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