Tributes have been paid to a Richmondshire councillor who died suddenly yesterday.
Richard Beal, 62, from Reeth, represented Reeth and Arkengarthdale on the district council.
He was elected in February 2014 to fill a vacancy left following the passing of his friend Bob Gale.
Richard held his seat in 2015 and was also elected to Reeth Parish Council.
An avid gardener, walker and caravanner, Richard first moved to the area over 20 years ago from Tyneside to run a hotel but had since semi-retired. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and 4 grown up stepchildren.
Councillor Yvonne Peacock, the Leader of the Council, said: “I was saddened to hear the news of Richard’s death. Richard was a dedicated and hardworking councillor who was passionate about the communities he was elected to represent.
“Richard championed a range of local issues, particularly those affecting rural areas, and will be sorely missed by all he worked with.
“My condolences, and those of Richmondshire District Council, are extended to his family at this sad and difficult time”.
He was a member of the Independents group.
Cllr John Blackie, leader of the Independents, today described Cllr Beal as a “first rate councillor of true Independent tradition”.
He added: “He recognised his task first and foremost was to stand up to be counted for all those he represented in Reeth and Arkengarthdale.
“And he did this with distinction, ever ready to pursue issues of local concern, tirelessly chase grants particularly for Reeth Memorial Hall, and was working closely with me to try to secure four new affordable social houses to rent in Langthwaite.
Cllr Blackie said Cllr Beal was involved as a long standing volunteer with the Scouts.
“His death has come as a dreadful shock and I send my deepest condolences to Dorothy, his wife.
“The Upper Dales is all the poorer without him.”
Details of the funeral arrangements will be provided once they are available – on which day the Council’s Civic Flag will be flown at half-mast at the Council offices in Richmond.