Published: 14:59, 07 July 2021
| Updated: 11:20, 08 July 2021
Devastated colleagues have paid tribute to a councillor and former Gurkha described as kind and dedicated who has died.
Cllr Tashi Bhutia served at Medway Council three times in the past 12 years and represented the Princes Park ward in Chatham.
His death was announced this morning by his ward colleague and fellow Conservative councillor Gloria Opara.
Cllr Opara said: "It is with a very heavy heart that I announce the passing away of my dear friend and ward colleague, Tashi.
"He was a great man, always patient, kind and polite. He loved people and his work.
"I pray for strength, peace and comfort for his beautiful family. Sleep well Tashi."
The popular councillor first joined the council in 2009 until 2011 serving the Luton and Wayfield ward.
He was re-elected in 2015 and retained his seat along with Cllr Opara in Princes Park at the last election in December 2019.
Before entering politics, Cllr Bhutia served in the Brigade of Gurkhas and met his wife, Vicky, in Hong Kong while they were both serving in the HM Forces.
The couple married in 1980 while Vicky was still serving in Chatham and settled in the area to raise a family having three children and two grandchildren.
Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch said she was "devastated" to hear of Cllr Bhutia's death this morning.
Ms Crouch said: "I genuinely feel honoured to have known him. He was a wonderful, kind man who will be much missed.
"My heart goes out to his wife, children, friends and colleagues. Travel safely Tashi x"
"He was a great man, always patient, kind and polite..."
Medway Council leader Alan Jarrett said: "Tashi was a fantastic, dedicated local councillor who was passionate about his local community.
"Tashi will be greatly missed by all of his colleagues at Medway Council and by the residents he represented. I would like to express my condolences to his wife, family and friends at this difficult time.”
The authority's director of place and deputy chief executive, Richard Hicks, said: “We are all greatly saddened to hear of the death of Cllr Tashi Bhutia.
"He will be a great loss to the Council and the community as a whole, as we all held Tashi in high regard. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his wife, family and friends.”
Cllr Bhutia worked for BAE Systems while serving as a councillor and sat on several committees at Medway Council, including health and adult social care overview and scrutiny, licensing and safety and planning.
He also served as an advisor to the Gurkha Nepalese Community Medway group helping families become part of the Medway community.
Cllr Bhutia also served as a Chatham Charities trustee and worked on various projects supporting residents and bringing benefits to the community.
Cllr Vince Maple (Lab), opposition leader at Medway Council, said: "I’m truly saddened with today’s news of the passing of Tashi Bhutia.
"Tashi was someone dedicated to helping his community and truly one of the nicest people in Medway politics.
"His time as a director of Medway Diversity Forum was a great example of his service to our community. My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this most difficult time.”