TRIBUTES have been paid to Cllr Colin Richards, who died at the weekend.

The Island Independents member represented the Arreton and Newchurch ward. 

Cllr Dave Stewart, the new leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said he was saddened to hear of Cllr Richards' death.

"I have known and worked with Colin for some years on the council and he has for me been a man of great character and highly respected by all of us on the council," he said. 

"He has served the community of Arreton and Newchurch well and I am sure he will be missed by his local community. 

"Finally, I would wish to send my condolences to all his family at this very difficult time."

Cllr Julia Baker-Smith, leader of the Island Independent Group, said: "The Island Independent Group send our deepest condolences to Cllr Colin Richards family.

"Colin was the grandfather figure of the group, always on hand with his advice and wisdom.

"Colin was a man of great integrity who truly cared for his community and his Island.

"Even in his final weeks and months Colin was still assisting and representing the residents of Arreton and Newchurch.

"Colin was a key figure in County Hall and will be very sadly missed by all who knew him."

Island MP Andrew Turner paid tribute to Cllr Richards and Cllr Morris Barton, who also died recently

"Colin was quiet and unassuming. A real gentleman; one of the old school. His love of the countryside and the area he represented was obvious to all who met him," he said. 

"The family and loved ones of both these well-respected Island figures have my sincere condolences. They have had very personal losses. But the Island is also a poorer place after the sad death of two good people who were willing to put much time and effort into serving their communities. They will both be missed."

*Charles Chapman, chairman of the Isle of Wight Council, said: "I was very sorry to hear of Colin's passing; a feeling that I know will be shared by my fellow councillors, both past and present. 

"Colin was a kind and considerate man and always had time to listen before passing comments, and always kept Arreton and Newchurch residents at the forefront.

"He will be sorely missed by all those who knew him well. 

"My sincere condolences are with his family, a thought I know will be echoed by all those who worked with him at County Hall over the years."

There will be no by-election for the seat of Arreton and Newchurch councillor preceding the local council elections in May 2017, as it is within six months of a planned election; the seat will remain vacant until this time. 

The council flag has been lowered at County Hall as a mark of respect to both Councillor Richards, and also former council leader Morris Barton.