SOMERSET County Councillor for the Brent Knoll ward Alan Ham has died after battling a short illness.

Tributes have been paid to the Conservative, who left a wife and two sons behind.

Alan, 73, worked in all levels of local government - from a clerk at Brean Parish Council, to a member of Sedgemoor District Council, and then as a county councillor from 1988.

Brent Knoll district Cllr Bob Filmer, who knew Alan for 20 years, said: “Alan was a good friend and a mentor. What he didn’t know about local government wasn’t worth knowing. He was a minefield of information and underneath it all he was an extremely nice man who was there to represent his community.

“He’s been a role model for a lot of people who have come into local government.”

Burnham district Cllr Neville Jones said: “He was the complete councillor, with knowledge of all three strands of local government, and he was a very approachable man.

“There was no task so small it was beneath him, and any big task he tackled in a professional way.”

Alan served as a police authority member for over 10 years and Avon and Somerset Constabulary has praised him for his dedication.

Police authority deputy chairman Cllr Claire Gordon said their thoughts were with his family at this time.

She said: "There was no political divide with Alan, he always left politics at the door and carried out his police authority role, concentrating on the best interests of the communities he represented.

"For me, above anything he will be remembered as a gentleman, who was considerate in his actions and discussions with others.”