TRIBUTES have been paid to a Yorkshire Dales councillor who died suddenly on Tuesday.

Richmondshire District Councillor Richard Beal, 62, represented Reeth and Arkengarthdale since being elected in February 2014 to fill a vacancy left following the passing of his friend Bob Gale. Cllr Beal held his seat in 2015 and was also elected to Reeth Parish Council.

An avid gardener, walker and caravanner, he first moved to the area around 20 years ago from Tyneside to run a hotel but had since semi-retired. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and four grown up stepchildren.

Councillor Yvonne Peacock, leader of Richmondshire District Council, said: “I was saddened to hear the news of Richard’s death. Richard was a dedicated and hardworking councillor who was passionate about the communities he was elected to represent.

"Richard championed a range of local issues, particularly those affecting rural areas, and will be sorely missed by all he worked with. My condolences, and those of Richmondshire District Council, are extended to his family at this sad and difficult time."

Details of the funeral arrangements will be provided once they are available – on which day the council’s Civic Flag will be flown at half-mast at the offices in Richmond.