TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘true gentleman’ and councillor who ‘strove to make Earby a better place to live’.

Morris Horsfield died in hospital from coronavirus on Sunday morning and he has been described as a ‘dedicated public servant’.

Andrew Stephenson MP for Pendle said: “I had last spoken to Morris in August when I held an advice surgery in the Earby Parish Rooms.

“Over the last 15 years as a Parliamentary Candidate and MP, I got to know Morris well. For most of that time Morris was a Conservative Pendle Borough Councillor only retiring in 2019 after many years of service to the local community.

“Despite retiring from Pendle Council, Morris had lost none of his deep commitment to improving Earby and was still a very active member of the town council.

“Whether it was the big issues, such as the Earby flood relief schemes or opposing inappropriate housing developments, or something very small Morris was all over local issues.

“Morris believed deeply in local services being provided locally and spent lots of his time battling Lancashire County Council, Pendle Council, utility companies or others when he saw them as failing his local area. He was never shy of coming up with local solutions to local problems and sometimes implementing them with or without permission.

“Morris was respected across political lines as a true local champion and will be missed by all who knew him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.”

There was a minute's silence as councillors paid their respects to the 86-year-old at the West Craven Area Committee on Wednesday night.

Ward colleague councillor Rosemary Carroll led the tributes.

She said: “Morris was quite a character as we all know but he was extremely passionate about Earby. He was a good man and will be missed. Our sympathy and condolences go to all his family.”

Cllr David Whipp added: “Morris was a force of nature and rarely took no for an answer. He was a really good man and had lived to a ripe old age but his life was cut short.”