A FORMER councillor who died suddenly has been described as a 'real gentleman' by his colleagues.

Tributes have been paid to Brian Roberts, a former Conservative councillor for St Oswalds Ward in Oswaldtwistle for 15 years, coming onto Hyndburn Council in 2000.

The 69-year-old had collapsed while on his way home following an event at the Baxenden Golf Club on Saturday, August 3.

Leader of the Conservative group in Hyndburn, Cllr Tony Dobson said: "I was with him a few hours before he died.

"As a councillor, a person and a member of the Conservative association, he was a real gentleman.

"He showed a lot of knowledge and expertise and guided a lot of the young councillors and members of the association right up until the end.

"He will be badly missed."

Mr Roberts became deputy leader of the Conservative party in 2004 and served for 11 years.

In 2015 he became an honorary Alderman of the borough.

He worked alongside the Community Safety Partnership, the East Lancashire into Employment Board and was a member of the Oswaldtwistle Area Council.

Cllr Judith Addison, who represents Immanuel on Hyndburn Council, said: "I knew Brian when I first got onto the council 10 years ago, at that time the Conservatives were in control.

"I always found him to be a very good councillor.

"He was always capable of looking at things very rationally and objectively.

"No matter what his personal views were he was capable of taking a step back and looking at both sides of the the matter.

"In Oswaldtwistle he was extremely well known, he was very well respected.

"He was a betting shop manager at one point.

"Brian was not married but he had lots of friends."

Leader of Hyndburn Council, Cllr Miles Parkinson, said Mr Roberts was a very important councillor during his tenure.

He said: "He was on the council for a long period of time.

"Brian cared tirelessly for his ward."

Hyndburn Council spokesman said: "The council is saddened to hear of the sudden death of Mr Brian Roberts.

"He was a popular figure and will be greatly missed.

"The Union flag will be flown at half-mast as a mark of respect."

The cause of death is not clear however it was known Mr Roberts had suffered with a heart defect.