Tributes have been paid to Crawley councillor Geraint Thomas, who has died.
A familiar and popular face in Northgate, where he served for almost ten years, Mr Thomas switched to the Ifield seat in May following a boundary change.
A spokesman for the borough council said he passed away at home on Wednesday night (November 27).
Before stepping into political life, Mr Thomas was a teacher, giving geography lessons to youngsters at Hazelwick and St Wilfrid’s schools as well as at Warden Park, in Cuckfield, for 31 years.
Crawley born and bred, he was educated at Collyer’s, in Horsham, where he was a handy opening bat on the cricket field.
An enthusiastic singer and keen cyclist, his dedication to the people he was elected to serve was admired by all.
His death came as a shock to councillors on both sides of the political divide.
Chief executive officer Natalie Brahma-Pearl said: “Our thoughts are with Geraint’s wife and family, friends and close council colleagues as they come to terms with this sad news.
“The town has lost someone who was passionate about serving others.
“From his many years teaching geography in the town, to his ten years serving his constituents as a councillor in Northgate and Ifield wards and three years as cabinet member for environmental services and sustainability, Geraint was a passionate advocate for the environment.”
A minute’s silence will observed at the next full council meeting on Monday 16 December. The council’s flag will be flown at half-mast on the day of the funeral.