Tributes have been paid to a long-standing Richmondshire councillor who has died aged 78.
Former teacher Michael Heseltine died following a short illness on Friday, December 30.
He served almost 40 years as a councillor both on North Yorkshire County Council and Richmondshire District Council (RDC).
Cllr Heseltine, who represented Richmondshire north division on the county council, was first elected in 1977.
He sat on most of the authority’s committees over the years, including the police and fire authorities, and was chairman of the county council in 2005 to 2006.
Most recently, he sat on the Richmondshire Area Committee, the scrutiny of health committee and transport, economy and environment scrutiny committee.
He also served on numerous outside bodies relating to safety and education and passionately campaigned for improvements to the A66 trans-Pennine route.
Before his retirement he taught for many years at Scorton Grammar School.
Cllr Heseltine stood down as a county councillor in the elections in May this year.
Authority leader Cllr Carl Les described Cllr Heseltine as a true gentleman who would be a great loss to the council and the community he represented.
“Michael was a hugely respected member of the county council and the communities he represented and always served his communities to the best of his ability,” he said.
“His background as a teacher meant he spent his working life helping children and he carried that on into his public life, where he wanted to continue to help people. His death now is particularly poignant when the dualling of the A66, which he championed for years, has finally been announced.”
Cllr Yvonne Peacock, leader of Richmondshire District Council, added: “He was a great mentor when I first became a councillor.
“We became good friends and remained so when he left the authority.
“He was an extremely good councillor.”