Tributes have been paid to a popular Northumberland councillor who has died aged 77.
Coun John Taylor, who was Northumberland County Councillor for Longhoughton near Alnwick, died peacefully at home in the early hours of yesterday.
Coun Taylor, who lived at Denwick, served as a councillor in the county for more than 28 years, holding a number of offices.
He was a serving member of the county council since 2001, acting as an independent, and was chairman of the authority’s North area planning committee.
Coun Taylor served on the now defunct Alnwick District Council from 1986 until 2009, serving as its chairman and leader.
He was also a parish councillor for his ward.
Away from politics, Coun Taylor was a retired farmer and estate manager.
Politicians across the county yesterday joined in paying tribute to him.
Coun Grant Davey, leader of the county council, said: “I’d like to pay tribute to the hard work, dedication and basic decency of long standing Councillor John Taylor.
“Longhoughton has lost a cornerstone of its community and it’s with great sadness that I pay this tribute.
“John was an independent voice who always stood up for his community but also had a view to the wider interests of Northumberland.
“Our thoughts are with John’s family and it’s sad that Northumberland has lost one of its ‘favoured’ sons.”
Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith added: “Coun John Taylor was devoted to and deeply rooted in the Northumberland countryside and he worked constantly and with an independent mind on behalf of country people. He will be very greatly missed.”
Dr Clare Mills, senior parliamentary Assistant to Sir Alan who served with Coun Taylor on the district council, added: “He was a really good example of how councillors should represent their wards. I learnt a lot from him when I was on Alnwick District Council.”
Coun Steven Bridgett, a county councillor who served with Coun Taylor on the district council, added: “In politics there are not many people you can call a friend, John was that.
“From my earliest days on Alnwick District Council in 2007 right up until his death, John provided me with some of the best advice I have ever been given.
“There was very little John didn’t know about the area and he always had the greater good of the area at his heart.
“His knowledge of planning laws and regulation was unparalleled and you always got a funny story to go along with it.
“I will miss him.”