FRIDAY marks 10 years since the sudden death of Jim Anderson on polling day.
The Londonderry MP and Rooty Hill resident, 59, suffered a fatal heart attack an hour before voting began.
The state Labor government dedicated its election win to Mr Anderson, who had been expected to retain his seat.
Labor later held on when Allan Shearan won the by-election.
‘‘We were about to head out to the polling booths when I got the call from Kathleen [Jim’s wife],’’ close friend and colleague, Mount Druitt MP Richard Amery told the Star.
‘‘It was a tragic day and he is greatly missed.’’
Mr Anderson was Blacktown mayor from 1991-1995 before being elected as St Marys state MP.
He moved to the Londonderry seat in 1999 when the St Marys seat was abolished.
‘‘He was the best local MP this area has had and a popular mayor,’’ Mr Amery said.
‘‘He lived around the corner from me so we used to carpool to and from parliament. He was a fanatical campaigner and constantly in the Attorney General’s office when we were lobbying for the court house in Mount Druitt. Jim was Irish, so he would have spent Sunday St Patricks Day at Penrith Gaels Club, wearing his green tie. He had a great sense of humour. I’m pleased the current state government has continued the scholarship program in his honour.’’
Blacktown Councillor Charlie Lowles took over as mayor when Mr Anderson became an MP.
‘‘He lived for his family and his community,’’ Councillor Lowles said.
‘‘He had a strong belief in helping others. He was the epitome of a healthy man. He never smoked or drank so his death was a huge shock. Jim came from a working class background in Belfast, so he believed in the best educational opportunities for everyone.’’