Tributes have been paid to a popular Island councillor and former Mayor of Swale who has died.
Cllr John Morris, who had been battling stomach cancer, suffered a stroke at Medway Maritime Hospital on Friday.
He would have turned 76 next week. The Eastchurch resident had served two terms as Mayor of Swale with his late wife Ann as mayoress, in 2006/07 and 2007/08.
He was also a borough councillor for Sheppey Central ward, having become a member in 2002 after previously serving a year in office in 1983.
Cllr Morris and his wife were both born in Stepney, East London, and met in their local pub 59 years ago.
They married two years later, and after falling in love with the Island, bought a caravan here before relocating permanently in the early 1970s.
Swale council leader Cllr Andrew Bowles said he was very sad to hear of his death.
He said: “John was a close personal friend and a highly respected colleague. As mayor, John brought to bear those major facets of his character – good humour, fairness and yet commitment to the dignity of the role.
“Throughout his life, both public and private, John had the strong and sure support of his beloved late wife Ann.
“Our thoughts at this time must be with his surviving family. John was very much a family man and our only consolation is our belief that he and Ann are now reunited.”
Leysdown and Warden councillor Pat Sandle also paid tribute. She said: “John was a man who said what he thought and we became good friends.
“I’m really sorry to hear he has passed away – he will be sadly missed.”
Family friend Cllr Lesley Ingham, who also represents Sheppey Central, said: “John has been a friend for 30 years.
“He was a mentor when I started on the council and it was him I would go to. John was very helpful to me – a very good friend and a dear man. He will be terribly missed.”
He leaves a son and daughter, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Swale council will hold an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, June 18, where they intend to give Cllr Morris the status of Honorary Alderman of the Borough of Swale. A by-election will be held at a future date. Funeral details are yet to be confirmed.