NEWS has reached the town of the death of former mayor, Philip Sharpe-Neal.

Mr Sharpe-Neal, who retired from the council in 2003, was mayor of the town three times, - in 1976, 1983 and 1998.

He was also chairman of the Ledbury and District Civic Society, from 1978 to 1980.

A former head boy at Ledbury Grammar School, he was praised by present day town councillors for his independent mind, in the public arena.

Ledbury's present mayor, Cllr Bob Barnes spoke of his "very good spread of service, to the town and the community."

Former town mayor, Cllr Keith Francis said: "I only knew him from the year 2000 to when he retired, in 2003.

"He was a man who did so much for the town in a very quiet, unassuming way. Philip was a true independent; not someone masquerading as an independent, and to him politics played no part in local Government.

"He was like a mentor to me, and he was a committed member our our community."

Mr Sharpe-Neal moved away from Ledbury, in recent years, to Westbury on Trym, to be close to his son.

He died earlier this month.

There was a minute's silence in his memory at last week's full town council meeting, in the Market House.