VETERAN East Lancashire politician Lord Tony Greaves has died suddenly.

The 78-year-old Liberal Democrat passed away peacefully at his Trawden home this morning.

The former teacher leaves a wife Heather, two daughters Vicky and Helen and a young grandson Robin.

Tributes have been paid to him across the political spectrum.

Born in Bradford, Lord Greaves was one of the driving forces behind the Liberal party's development of 'pavement politics in the 1960s and remained a major force in national Liberal Democrat politics.

He taught geography at Colne Grammar School which later became part of Nelson and Colne College.

A former Lancashire County Councillor Lord Greaves represented Waterside ward in Colne on Pendle Borough Council until his death.

He was made a life peer in May 2000 as Baron Greaves of Pendle in the County of Lancashire. He fought Pendle constituency unsuccessfully in several general elections in the 1970s and 1990s.

Cllr David Whipp, leader of the Lib Dems on the county and Pendle Councils, said: "Tony was indomitable.

"His passing will leave a huge hole in the Pendle community and a similar gap in the Liberal Democrat Party nationally.

"His opinion was valued by people of all political parties.

"Tony had a huge love for Colne and every street in the town has been improved by his work.

"He was one of the inventor of Liberal Democrat community politics in the 1960s. It is very sad indeed."

Pendle Council's Labour leader Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said: "This is devastating news for Pendle.

"Despite our political differences, he was totally committed to the interests of the people of the borough. He will be greatly missed."

Fellow Waterside ward Liberal Democrat Cllr Dorothy Lord said: "He will be missed hugely by Pendle Council. People of all parties asked for his opinion and listened to it. Tony was a force of political nature. We are all reeling."

Cllr Graham Waugh, the Conservative chair of Pendle Council's Colne District Committee, said: "Lord Greaves was an absolute fount of knowledge about Pendle. He will be missed by people of all political persuasions."

Close friend and Burnley LibDem councillor Gordon Lishman said: "We first met and worked together 56 years ago. We agreed more with each other than anyone else I have known. He was a great political colleague and friend."

Cllr Azhar Ali, leader of Lancashire County Council Labour group, said: "Tony was a political genius."

Lord Greaves was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield before attending Hertford College, Oxford,