Tributes have been paid to long-serving Atherington councillor Walter White, who died yesterday (Monday, April 15).

Mr White, aged 69, had served on North Devon Council since 2011 as independent Chittlehampton district councillor and was also chairman of Atherington Parish Council.

Paying tribute to his friend of more than 50 years, fellow parish councillor Andy Boyce said: “He was just a very, very nice guy, dedicated to the village and the surrounding parishes.

“He lived for the village and served the people of the village and was always there when you needed him.”

Mr White had been unwell and in hospital for some weeks, but had appeared to be improving.

Mr Boyce said he had been helping his friend with his re-election campaign and had dropped in to see him on Wednesday to take him a bundle of council agenda papers to read.

A market gardener, he had lived on his own, but Mr Boyce said he had a 'huge sense of civic duty' and had dedicated most of his time to his council and community roles.

He said: “He was somebody who served the community to the best of his ability, did not expect any thanks or to be lauded.

“The main thing that struck me about Walter was his even-handedness – it did not matter what political leaning anybody had, he was very much independent.

“I know from discussions with him he felt district councillors would better serve the community if they were there as an independent.”

Mr White served on the district council Ethics, Overview and Scrutiny and Crime and Disorder committees.

A statement from the council on its Facebook page said: “It is with great sadness that we inform you our Councillor Walter White sadly passed away last night.

“He has been a district councillor and parish councillor for many years and will be missed.

“With the district elections coming up, the election for his existing district council seat for Chittlehampton ward will be delayed.

“Further information will be provided about this when we know more.”