TRIBUTES have been paid to a Slimbridge farmer and local councillor who died suddenly.

Cllr Norman Smith, 71, was found at his home in Slimbridge just days before Christmas on December 20.

Cllr Smith was well known for his work as a district councillor and for his work within the farming community as a partner in the Slimbridge Holstein dairy farm.

Cllr Phil Garrett, chairman of Slimbridge Parish Council, said: "It’s a shock to the community.

"He was very well respected by the parish council – we always looked up to him.

"He will be missed. He was a valuable team member."

Cllr Smith was first elected to Stroud District Council in May 1991 and served as Conservative ward member for the Severn, which included Slimbridge, Saul, Whitminster, Frampton-on-Severn, Arlingham and Moreton Valance.

Cllr Smith took a short break from the district council between 1995 and 2002 when he was re-elected on to the authority for the Severn ward.

Cllr John Jones, fellow Conservative ward member for the Severn ward at Stroud District Council, said Cllr Smith would be missed.

He said: "He was well respected throughout the district and certainly throughout the Severn ward area.

"He was a past member of Slimbridge Parish Council, as was his father before him.

"He was well respected in the farming community and will be missed."

During his years in local politics Cllr Smith served as chairman for the Stroud Conservative Association and was a keen supporter of the Berkeley Hunt. At the time of his death he was a member of the Lower Severn Drainage Board.

Cllr Frances Roden, leader of Stroud District Council, said: "It was with great sadness that I heard of Norman’s sudden death at the end of last year.

"As a councillor he sat on a very wide range of committees and since 2006 was the chairman of the licensing and regulation committee. He carried out that duty with the commitment and thoughtfulness which it so rightly deserves.

"When I first became a councillor Norman helped me enormously during my time on that committee and I truly appreciated his support. With his passing, the people of the district have lost a tremendous public servant, and we at the council have lost a true friend."

Cllr Smith was a bachelor and leaves a brother.