A BOROUGH'S longest-serving councillor had died aged 58 following a burst blood vessel in his brain.

Noel Walsh had represented Mellor on Ribble Valley Council for more than 25 years.

The bachelor died in a nursing home on Monday after months in hospital following a ruptured aneurysm in his brain.

Cllr Walsh was first elected in 1995 to represent Mellor where he lived for 41 years and was also a long- term member of both Mellor and Balderstone and Osbaldeston Parish Councils.

A lifelong Blackburn Rovers and Lancashire County Cricket club supporter, he served as deputy chair of the Licensing Committee on Ribble Valley Council, was a Governor at Ribblesdale High School, Clitheroe and at St. Mary’s Primary School Langho.

Cllr Walsh was also for many years a Trustee of Ribble Valley Citizens Advice Bureau, Roefield Leisure Centre, and the Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Council for Voluntary Services.

He was also a sidesman at St. Mary’s Church in Mellor.

Ribble Valley Mayor and fellow Mellor councillor Cllr Stella Brunskill said: “Noel was dedicated to representing his constituents and would often call on them if they needed assistance.

“He wouldn’t hesitate to speak up in support of Mellor, its residents and Ribble Valley as a whole."

Cllr Allan Knox, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group, said: “Noel was ‘Father of the Council’. He was very diligent in the way he represented his village of Mellor. He was a perfect gentleman and will be much missed.”

Whalley and Painter Wood's Cllr Ged Mirfin said: "Noel was the last of the old school councillors in the best possible sense.

“He told me he preferred to ring people up who had a problem because it encouraged them to quickly get to the heart of the issue they had rather than writing reams about it in an email. Better still he went to see them in person.

"In public Noel could appear very shy and retiring but close friends enjoyed his caustic wit and wicked sense of humour."

Noel is survived his nephew Thomas, niece Jessica and younger brother Robin who said: "I have lost a true friend and a pal."