Tributes have been paid to New Tredegar councillor Les Rees, who passed away on Friday last week at the age of 78.
Cllr Rees, who had been a Labour councillor since 1979, had been battling lung cancer for the last two years.
The leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, Cllr Harry Andrews, led the tributes to his late colleague.
He said: “Local government and the local community have lost a great man. Les was a long-standing personal friend as well as a political colleague for many years and he will be sorely missed. He had been a councillor since 1979 representing the same ward for both Rhymney Valley District and Caerphilly County Borough councils, he had a great deal of expertise in the field of planning and I know all of his colleagues at the council will miss his wisdom as well as his wit.
“He was a dedicated, hard working and conscientious local councillor who loved his local community and served the village of New Tredegar with passion and commitment for many years. I speak on behalf of the whole council to say that our thoughts are with his wife Audrey and their family during this very difficult time.”
Deputy leader and fellow New Tredegar councillor Gerald Jones said he had known Cllr Rees for the last 30 years and that he was one of the most respected people he knew.
He said: “He earned the respect of not only all council members, regardless of politics, but also staff. He was someone who had a great deal of wisdom.
“He had very strong principles and the work he did in the community came across. There aren’t many organisations in New Tredegar that haven’t had active support, in one way or another, from Les.”
Cllr Rees also served for many years as a local magistrate sitting at Pontlottyn and Bargoed courts before he retired from the role at the statutory age of 70. He was also a founding member and president of the New Tredegar Nomads Cycling Club.
In 2008 he was awarded an MBE for services to his community.
Speaking to the Rhymney Valley Express he said: “It wasn’t something I sought though. It really did come out of the blue. I was contacted three weeks ago to say my name was going forward. I decided to let it go forward more for my wife than anything else.
“My family are over the moon about it and people in the area have been very nice. I’ve had a lot of phone calls to congratulate me.”
He added: “I see the MBE as being not just for me and my family but for the whole community.”