EDEN District Council has lost one of its most well respected and senior councillors, with the death of Cllr Keith Morgan.

Cllr Morgan passed away on April 20, aged 73, after battling cancer.

After serving the Appleby community in its fight to save the Settle-Carlisle railway, Cllr Morgan was elected to Eden District Council in 1991, representing the Appleby ward. He was a member of the Independent Group and was also an Appleby Town Councillor, first being elected to the town council in May 1983.

He served as a hard-working Mayor, and was particularly proud of his work with the gypsy/traveller community in ensuring that the annual horse fair went as harmoniously as possible.

Eden District Council’s Leader, Kevin Beaty said: “Councillor Keith Morgan served the Appleby Ward with great distinction and I valued his contributions to council meetings which were always measured, thoughtful and timely. His loss will be greatly felt by our local communities and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Jenny and sons Matthew and Gareth.”

Cllrr Morgan held many senior roles during his 25 year service with the district council including two spells as chairman in 2007/08 and 2012/13.

His time as council chairman saw one of the most spectacular public participation events in Eden in 2012, when the Olympic Torch Relay passed through the district.

As council chairman, Cllr Morgan raised money for the Great North Air Ambulance, Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue, Annie Mawson’s Sunbeams Music Trust and Eden Mind. He also met HRH Prince Charles when he visited Cumbria in 2013.

Independent Group Leader on Eden District Council, Cllr Mary Robinson said: “Councillor Keith Morgan has been a tower of strength for me and the Independent Group at the council. He gave great service to Appleby and to the district council and will be sadly missed.”

Cllr Morgan was District Council Vice Chairman in 2005-06 and Vice Chairman of the Community and Economy Committee in 2006-07. He was Chairman of the Accounts and Governance Committee and had served on both the Planning Applications and Scrutiny committees. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Local Councils and was a former chairman of the Eden branch of the Cumbria Association of Local Councils (ECALC).

Liberal Democrat Group Leader on Eden District Council, Cllr Robin Howse, said: “I greatly valued Keith Morgan as a councillor and a friend. I had the deepest respect for his views and he carried out his role as councillor with tremendous dignity, which is an example to us all."

Cllr Morgan was also a keen supporter of the arts and joined the board of Eden Arts in 1991, firstly as an Eden District Council nominee. The director of Eden Arts, Adrian Lochhead said: “Keith was a terrific servant to Eden Arts, serving as chairman of the Board for many years. From the time of my appointment to our most recent conversations he showed the greatest of care and diligence in trying to ensure that we would effectively contribute to our community.

“This care epitomises the man as someone who devoted himself to trying to ensure the best for all. He supported me personally and the organisation beyond the call of duty in every respect, a great source of knowledge about local affairs as well as being culturally aware and determined that both the arts and artists prevail and that our local community benefits from a wide range of cultural activity. His decency is without comparison, I grew to value him and his utter integrity, his passion and intelligence and great humour. I personally have lost a friend, Appleby and Eden has lost a public servant beyond compare.”