Tributes have been paid to a ‘true community champion’ following the sudden death of Fremington parish and district councillor Tony Wood.

Fremington councillor Tony Wood was a quiet and dignified man as well as a 'true community champion'.Fremington councillor Tony Wood was a quiet and dignified man as well as a 'true community champion'.

Mr Wood, who would have been 79 on Friday, served as a Fremington parish councillor for many years and was also a member of North Devon Council, died on Friday morning.

Councillor Frank Biederman, vice-chairman of the parish council said he was completely shocked to receive the news sent his thoughts and love to Tony’s family, who can be very proud of all he did and achieved.

He added: “Tony was a true community champion and passionate to make it a better place to live, especially nature and the environment.

“Tony has served the parish for many years as a councillor and chairman of the former Fremington in Bloom Committee. I and the community will miss him as a friend and for all his hard work and commitment to the community.”

In a statement the council said Mr Wood had served as chairman of the Parks and Playing Fields Committee, a parish tree warden and was a strong supporter of replacing the ageing Beechfield Centre, a project he had been pushing forward for a number of years.

Work starts there in August and the council said it was poignant he would not see it come to fruition, but it would continue in his memory.

Parish chairman Sue Kingdom said on behalf of Tony’s fellow councillors she wanted to express their shock and sadness at the suddenness of his passing.

She said: “He has been an invaluable part of the parish council with his insight and knowledge and has been on several of the committees over the years.

“It is indeed sad that only recently our loan for the refurbishment of the Beechfield Centre has been approved.

“When the new building is complete we will indeed remember Tony’s enthusiasm for this building. Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this sad time.”

North Devon Council leader Des Brailey said: “Tony was a quiet chap who went about council business with a discreet dignity. Naturally our thoughts are with his wife Julie and family at this very sad time.”

Mr Wood leaves his wife Julie, their daughter Caron, son-in-law Tony and grandchildren Claudia and Henry.

His funeral will be at North Devon Crematorium on Tuesday, May 15 at 1.40pm.