TRIBUTES have been paid to a 'brilliant' former councillor who has sadly passed away.

William 'Bill' Coombes, a former district and parish councillor, has died after a short illness.

Mr Coombes was a respected member of the community, dedicating more than a decade of his life to Stoke St Mary Parish Council.

Alongside his love of local politics, he was also a part-time farmer and smallholder for most of his life, living in Haydon for 37 years with his wife and daughter.

He served on Taunton Deane Borough Council for four years, representing the Blackbrook and Holway area of the town, up until the May elections.

A spokesman for the Taunton Deane Conservatives said: "It is with great sadness that we have learned of Bill's passing following a short illness.

"Bill was a great councillor, who was on Stoke St Mary Parish Councillor for more than 15 years, and on the district councillor at Taunton Deane.

"Our thoughts go out to his family."

Mr Coombes served as a Conservative member on TDBC under former leader John Williams.

Mr Williams described him as a 'great friend'.

He said: "What a tragic loss the sudden death of Bill is to his loving family and many friends who will all miss him greatly, my sincerest condolences.

"As a councillor, Bill was a great advocate for the community and really enjoyed getting involved. He was first elected to the borough council in 2015 but this was not the extent of his public service as he was already a parish councillor for a number of years.

"A very sad loss for his family, friends and community he had served, Bill was truly a great friend and colleague and will be sorely missed."

New council leader, Lib Dem Federica Smith-Roberts, also worked with Mr Coombes during his time in office.

She said: "Bill was a brilliant councillor to work with, he was kind, fair and always said it how it was when we were discussing projects at the council.

"I am very saddened to hear of his passing."