25 July 2022 | Collaboration

Tributes paid to Cumbria County Council’s Peter Clay

Tributes have been paid to Cumbria County Council’s Peter Clay who has sadly passed away.

He had been ill for some months after being diagnosed with a long term illness. Peter is survived by his wife Gill and son Michael.

Peter arrived at the County Council in 1984 following his career in the army – something he referred to often and which came in useful when his was staying at the ex-serviceman’s club in London for meetings in the capital.

He often left Carlisle without a prior booking and his last words were he would sleep in the bar if there were no beds available!

At the Council he started in the Civil Engineering laboratory in 1984, when his interest in road materials started and then moved to the highway contracting division, working on schemes such as the Thursby bypass.

He then moved to West Cumbria and was an Area Engineer in Whitehaven followed by a valued member of staff in the Lillyhall Office as a roads engineer.

Later on he moved to the Asset team in Carlisle and in 2020 became a technical advisor to provide technical advice and assurance for scheme design and compliance with technical design standards for highways including pavement, geotechnical and drainage design. During this time he would often travel via Cockermouth to assist in the drainage issues in the auction mart although this wasn’t in his job description it was something he kept helping with as he had the knack!

Peter had a passion for his work, often working long hours into the night to complete deadlines and he offered help to everyone, both within Cumbria and outside.

He attended external meetings in the North West and North East regularly and also national meetings to share best practice and his vast knowledge and experience.

With more than 35 years experience within highways maintenance and his extensive knowledge and industry wide contacts, Peter was a National Advocate for LCRIG. During his time in this role he ensured that LCRIG remained in touch and worked in partnership with other council groups and the industry associations.


Industry tributes:


Will Britain, President of the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG).

“Peter Clay was a traditionalist but very open to new ideas and a visionary. I enjoyed working with Peter who taught me lot between 1999 – 2002. Peter was a lovely guy with an extremely hard working ethic. He will be missed by this sector.”


Paul Boss, Chief Executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA).

“Having worked with Peter for many years on several national and regional working groups, he was one of the few who really put 100% plus into everything he did. His attention to detail and what was right was second to none, helping ensure relevant documents and other materials used today are accurate and easy to use. A friendly approachable man who was happy to see he was making a difference. As long as there was coffee in his flask, completing the task in hand took as long as was needed. One of the best who will be sadly missed by all who knew and worked with him.”


Paul Binks, Highways Asset Manager, Lancashire County Council

Peter was one of the first people whom I met when I started asset management, he was always very welcoming and friendly and was prepared to take a ‘Newbie’ under his wing; for which I am forever grateful. A great bloke who will be sadly missed.”


Susanne Ingham, Secretariat & Executive Officer, Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG).

“Peter was the very first Advocate of LCRIG with so much energy whilst ‘herding the cats’ (as he used to say) which he did spectacularly throughout the sector.  Peter was instrumental in the development and success of LCRIG, he was also a very dear friend and will be sadly missed.”


Paula Claytonsmith, Director, Government, and Strategy, Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG).

“I first met Peter Clay face-to-face at one of the inaugural Project Amber SME meetings in Blackpool in late 2018. We hit it off immediately and we had many conversations at LCRIG events, LCRIG board meetings and whilst he was at Cumbria County Council. He was instrumental in helping me, a non-engineer, understand the technical engineering challenges that councils face. His passion for local roads was unquestionable and he will be missed by so many.”


Richard Wakefield, Asset Officer, Halton Borough Council.

“Peter was one of the first people I came into contact with when I moved into highway asset management. It was when meetings where held at Preston. I was stuck by his depth of knowledge and enthusiasm to share at a personal level.

“You always felt that you could reach out to Peter and ask those seemingly daft questions without getting a condescended reply that suggests that you should know the answer. His answers were like those long maths questions where you got both the answer and the workings out, of how you come up with the answer.”


Charlotte Bromley, Events & Relationship Manager, Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG). 

“Peter was an amazing man. He always went out of his way to talk and listen to me. Peter would regularly talk about his beloved Lake District and about family. He used to say that I was his tech support as I would often help him with any techy issues. Peter is going to be missed by myself and all of those at LCRIG. He is going to leave a massive hole in our lives.”


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