SAM Smalldon, Sergeant at Mace to Taunton's Mayor, has died.

Widower Sam passed away yesterday (Monday) on what would have been his 41st wedding anniversary.

As Sergeant at Mace he was responsible for attending the Mayor at ceremonies.

Taunton Mayor Cllr Fran Smith said: "It is with great sadness I have learned that Sam Smalldon, my Sergeant at Mace, passed away yesterday.

"Sam was a well-respected member of my team and will be sorely missed by all at Somerset West and Taunton Council.

"I am sure you will join me in passing on our deepest condolences to Sam's family and friends."

Sam, who lived in Taunton, where he had been educated at Castle Secondary Modern School, was a former Royal Engineer who had served in Northern Ireland and the Falklands.

He was a passionate supporter of veterans who had fallen on hard times and was delighted when homeless charity ARC opened Victoria House, a home for former troops living on the streets.

He trained as a psychological first aider so he could spot the signs of 'vets' at risk of taking their own lives.

He also managed the poppy appeal in Taunton.

Sam was previously Sergeant at Mace to the Mayor of Taunton Deane, taking on his latest role when Taunton Deane Borough Council merged with West Somerset Council.