Published: 14:07, 30 May 2019
| Updated: 14:32, 30 May 2019
A councillor, described by colleagues as a "perfect gentleman", has died suddenly, aged 67.
Cllr Stephen Dehnel, who has represented the Downs North ward on Ashford Borough Council since 2015, died on Friday.
The Conservative councillor, who lived in Kingsnorth, passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly, according to colleagues.
Ashford Borough Council leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson paid tribute to his colleague.
He said: “It was with great shock and sadness that I learned of Stephen’s death. He was a dear friend and colleague, a man of immense integrity, loyalty and a strong sense of duty.
“Stephen excelled in his military career, serving with distinction in the Grenadier Guards, and was clearly able to transfer many of his skills to the service of this council and the people of Ashford.
"He made an immeasurable contribution in so many ways both in his ward and across the entire Borough Council.
“A perfect gentleman who I believe actually enriched the lives of all those who came into contact with him.
"Stephen will be greatly missed and our thoughts go out to his family at this sad time.”
Cllr Dehnel held a number of positions at the council alongside serving the Chilham, Old Wives Lees, Molash and Godmersham areas of the borough.
He was the deputy portfolio holder for legal and democracy between 2017 and 2019 and the deputy portfolio holder for planning in 2016 and 2017.
Cllr Dehnel also acted as a chairman of the standards committee and compliance and enforcement board as well as a member champion for military covenant and ceremonial liaison.
In his role as Member Champion for Military Covenant and Ceremonial Liaison, Cllr Dehnel was instrumental in arranging the highly successful Remembrance Sunday events, including Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace in 2018.
He was due to become portfolio holder for culture following the district council elections earlier this month.
Any Downs North ward issues or inquiries should be directed to Cllr Larry Krause, the member for the neighbouring Downs West ward, at email@example.com
Information on funeral arrangements will be released in due course.