NJA Mourns the Loss of Manchester Legend Sir Howard Bernstein

The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Sir Howard Bernstein, a towering figure in both the Jewish community and the city of Manchester. Sir Howard, who died at the age of 71 after a period of illness, was widely credited as one of the chief architects behind Manchester’s modern revival and a steadfast advocate for the Jewish community.

Born into a Jewish family in Cheetham Hill in 1953, Sir Howard’s dedication to public service began in 1971 when he started his career at Manchester Town Hall. He served as the Chief Executive of Manchester City Council for two decades, until his retirement in March 2017. His vision and leadership were instrumental in transforming Manchester into the vibrant, cosmopolitan city it is today.

Gary Mond, Chairman of the NJA, expressed his profound sadness, stating, “Sir Howard Bernstein was not only a monumental figure in local government but also a proud and influential member of the Jewish community. His tireless efforts and visionary leadership have left an indelible mark on Manchester.”

Throughout his career, Sir Howard’s Jewish background deeply influenced his belief in the importance of community. He often spoke about how his upbringing in the shadow of the Second World War shaped his outlook on life and his dedication to public service. His ability to attract investment and drive growth in Manchester was unparalleled, and his efforts in the wake of the 1996 IRA bomb attack, which brought nearly £600 million in public and private sector investment to rebuild the city, were particularly notable.

Sir Howard’s contributions extended beyond the realm of urban development. He served as the Honorary President of Manchester City FC and was the president of Lancashire Cricket for a decade. His commitment to public service was recognised with a knighthood in the 2003 New Year’s Honours list.

His passing is a significant loss to the Jewish community and the city of Manchester. The NJA extends its heartfelt condolences to Sir Howard’s wife Vanessa, his children Jonathan and Natalie, his stepchildren Danielle, Francesca, and Dominique, and his seven grandchildren. His legacy will forever be remembered and cherished by all who were touched by his remarkable life and work.

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