A PROMINENT Kendal councillor has died, aged 61.

Cllr John McCreesh, the Liberal Democrat councillor for Kendal Strickland and Fell, died on Saturday.

It is believed he died as a result of a heart attack.

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: "I'm stunned and devastated by John's death and am heartbroken for his wife Mel to whom he was utterly devoted. Whenever I saw John and Mel walking together they always held hands which struck me and touched me.

"John was a man who lived out his principles in practice, a sincere environmentalist and a man whose faith gave him real strength in his convictions.

"John made a huge difference for local people, he was a servant of the community and a committed Liberal for many many years. We've lost one of our best, but we will fight on in his honour.

Cllr Patricia Bell, Deputy Leader of Cumbria County Council, said:

“This is devastating news and so unexpected. Only this week John was at the heart of business at the county council at a meeting of our Full Council on Thursday and at Cabinet Briefing on Friday.

“John was always a tower of strength to me and to anyone who knew him. He was passionate and committed, as a colleague and more importantly as a close friend.

"This is a very sad loss for Cumbria, his family, his community and to local government. Our thoughts are obviously with his wife and his family at this difficult time.”

Cllr Peter Thornton, leader of South Lakeland District Council, said: "John’s passion was for the environment and for how we could better live in it.

"He was knowledgeable, thoughtful and respected by all. Kendal is poorer for his passing."

Cllr McCreesh also sat on Kendal Town Council and was CCC's cabinet member for the environment.

Cllr Chris Hogg, mayor of Kendal, said: "John was a key member of Kendal Town council. He was a strong environmental and community campaigner and a man of principle, for which he was greatly respected. We will all miss him a tremendous amount."

And Cllr Matt Severn, who represents Kendal Underley ward on SLDC, said: "John was the County Councillor for my ward so we worked together closely over many years

"I was very shocked and shaken to hear that John has suddenly passed away.

"He was a talented and deeply conscientous man with a honest and gentle spirit. An excellent local councillor, he had a depth of knowledge and experience that will be sorely missed.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time."