A LASTING tribute has been laid in honour of a passionate campaigner for peace and true Bolton character.

Bertie Lewis, who was born in Chicago in 1920 and died in 2010, was an anti-war protestor and could be seen campaigning with his placard most Saturdays in Victoria Square.

Mr Lewis became a member of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, flying more than 40 missions in Halifax bombers.

But despite his RAF background, he became staunchly anti-war, and after he settled in Bolton in 1961 he began holding peace protests in Victoria Square every Saturday.

Each year on Remembrance Sunday, Mr Lewis would lay a wreath of white poppies to symbolise peace and represent the CND movement.

Now the campaigner – who died on December 22, 2010 at the age of 90 after a heart attack – has been immortalised with a flagstone laid near where he used to stand.

Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Carole Swarbrick, told the assembled crowd: “My memory of Bertie is him laying a wreath of white poppies every year at the war memorial on Remembrance Sunday. However, there was much more to Bertie than that.

“He was not just a local character, but a dedicated campaigner for causes in which he passionately believed.”

Members of Bolton CND/Stop the War Coalition, Bolton Trades Council and Unison made preparations for the lasting tribute to Mr Lewis, with the permission of Bolton Council.

Mr Lewis’ son, Roger Lewis, said: “Even though he is now dead, when momentous things happen in the world we know exactly how he would feel and how he would react to them.

“What he would always say is ‘we cannot stand idly by and do nothing’.

“That is why he stood here in this square come rain or shine – or even snow.

“He would always be here, because he would not stand by and do nothing. He would do what he believed was right.”