TRIBUTES have been paid to a veteran councillor who has passed away at the age of 92.

Conservative councillor Bill Stenson dedicated more than 50 years to serving Darlington residents after first being elected to represent Mowden in 1965.

His retirement was announced last September and he moved to the Lincoln area to be close to family members after his health deteriorated.

As well as serving the community for more than five decades, Mr Stenson was an author, builder and well-known colourful character around the town.

Aside from a short break in the early 1970s, Cllr Stenson dedicated his life from then until very recently to serving the people of Darlington and celebrated the 50th anniversary of his election in June.

To mark his 50th anniversary of working as a councillor he received a letter from Prime Minister Theresa May to mark his dedication.

Councillor Stephen Harker, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “Bill Stenson was someone who commanded great respect on both sides of the Council chamber.

"I will remember him as a dedicated public servant over many decades, with a dry sense of humour and a passionate advocate for the issues that mattered to his constituents. He will be missed.”

Mr Stenson's private funeral takes place at St Cuthbert's Church on Thursday with donations being given to church funds.