Tributes have been paid to Lancashire borough and parish councillor Ian Sayers who has died suddenly.
The Ribchester resident had served on Ribble Valley borough council for 12 years and was chairman of Ribchester Parish Council and a former Ribble Valley mayor.
The 79 year old died at his home in Ribchester last week.
Leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council Coun. Stephen Atkinson praised Coun Sayers' record of public service, saying : “He was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and meticulous in his council work and extremely polite when dealing with council staff and colleagues. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”
He added: “His contribution to the community has been significant, particularly in the fields of recycling and refuse collection, and community transport.”
A minute’s silence was held to honour the memory of Coun Sayers at the Ribchester Parish Council meeting this week. Council members were joined by Coun David Smith from Ribble Valley borough council and Ian’s partner and former mayoress Mrs Jean Hayes.
Coun Ernest Law-Riding took the chair and spoke warmly about Ian, describing him as “a great friend and personal counsellor, a dedicated Ribble Valley borough councillor” in addition to his role as Chairman of his local Parish Council.
He added that Coun Sayers was always wise in his advice, had a shrewd sense of humour and noted he chaired the Parish Council with authority but humility, was much respected and very well liked by councillors and villagers alike.
Coun Law-Riding described him as : “A perfect English gentleman”, a view endorsed by all at the meeting.
Coun Ken Hind, a former leader of Ribble Valley Council and of the Conservative group on the council placed a tribute to Coun Sayers on the Ribble Valley Conservative Association’s website, noting his dedication.
He said: “Our condolences go to his partner Jean and his family. Ian was the archetypical balanced intelligent gentleman, a good friend, loyal and dependable. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and the Association."
He said Coun Sayers was a deputy agent for the Ribble Valley Conservative Association and a member of its campaign team, decribing him as : "A tireless worker in the Conservative cause who attended whenever there was an need for assistance.”
Noting his “distinguished record of public service” he listed Coun Sayers’ many roles, including being borough mayor in 2012/13. The tribute continued: “A very modest man . He was Chairman of the Lancashire Waste Partnership and attended regular meetings at county hall and had been all over the country and across Europe to look at new technologies to find solutions to Lancashire’s waste recycling problems.
"On the council he had been vice chairman of planning and chairman of licensing. Ian was also passionate about community transport and had been Chairman of the Clitheroe-based Community Transport Company the Little Green Bus CIC (community interest company) of which he was a vocal advocate.”
Coun Hind concluded: “He will leave a huge hole but has left behind a very strong impression of goodness. I’m sure that all the Conservative group members will endorse the comment that he was an absolute gentlemen. ”
Donna Atkinson CEO/Manager of Clitheroe based Little Green Bus said: “His support and commitment to the organisation was tireless. Ian was the kindest, most intelligent, supportive, humble and well-meaning person that I have ever had the honour and pleasure of knowing.”
She added: "He was an avid supporter of Community Transport, an exceptionally good listener and brought different perspectives to our conversations about Little Green Bus and the wider community transport community."
Coun Sayers, who served on the Ribble Valley Conservative management team and executive for many years, leaves two grown up children Philippa and Georgina and a grandchild Tristan.
Georgina said: "He was an absolutely wonderful father. We thought he was a big brother sometimes - full of fun, gentle. kind, very generous, always thinking of others.I keep hearing the word gentleman and honestly it couldn't be a better word."
She added he had also found time for a sporting hobby: "He was heavily involved in the Preston curling club which as lovely and in the past year had enjoyed curling at the curling ice rink at Barton Grange."
Coun Sayers was born in Reading and attended a Quaker influenced school, Leighton Park in Reading, before going to London University, graduating with a chemistry degree. His career brought him to Lancashire when he joined the team at Scapa in Blackburn, having formerly worked for Union Carbide.
The funeral will be on Thursday, April 25 at 10.45 am at Preston crematorium, followed by a memorial service at St Wilfrid’s Church, Ribchester at 11.30am.