Tributes have been paid to former North Herts Council member, Gary Grindal, who has died following a period of illness.

Mr Grindal was a long-serving Labour councillor representing Letchworth Wilbury for 26 years.

He served as a district councillor between 1996 and 2022 and was a Executive Member for Housing and Environmental Health from 2019 to 2022.

North Herts Council paid tribute to the 61-year-old, who had been ill for a while, saying he "will be missed and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time".

Council leader, Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg called Gary a "pillar of the local Labour Party and community".

She said: "There are few words to describe the loss of Gary Grindal. He was passionate about our community and gave everything he could to improving things right up to having to stand down this year.

"His record of delivering not just for Wilbury, but for the whole of North Herts, speaks for itself and he will be greatly missed by all.”

Gary has left a "lasting legacy" in North Herts through his generous work, including supporting the opening of the Safe Space centres across the district, helping the victims of domestic abuse and their families.

He sat on many committees throughout his time at North Herts Council including the Community Services Committee.

Also, he was a part of various outside body groups including North Herts District Sports Council and Howard Cottage Housing Association.

Councillor Amy Allen, fellow ward member for Letchworth Wilbury, fondly revealed how she met Gary.

She said: "I first knew Gary before I was a councillor - he helped kickstart the Wilbury Community Café which I now run.

"He was one of those genuinely decent people, his personality filled the room but not his ego. He always had time for those who needed it, even towards the end giving his all."

Gary was known for his "top banter", devotion for West Ham football club, and the countless hours he gave supporting the people of North Herts.

Councillor Amy continued: "The Wilbury ward of Letchworth has lost a huge asset and I’m going to miss him so much.”

Royston councillor Ruth Brown commented on Twitter: "A really sad loss. Privileged to have known him, even if only briefly."