TRIBUTES have been paid to a former North-East mayor, freeman and campaigning councillor who died at the weekend.

Mike Findley, MBE, served as councillor for the Longbeck ward in the Marske and New Marske area on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council for many years until ill health forced him to give up his position last year.

The highly-respected campaigner raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for his charity, the Mike Findley MND Fund, after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2005.

He also raised £12,000 for local charities during his time as Mayor between 2008 and 2009.

He was presented with the MBE by the Queen in 2010 and was granted the Freedom of the Borough in 2013.

Leader of the council, Councillor Mary Lanigan, said her thoughts were with Mr Findley’s family.

She said: “Mike was a wonderful friend as well as a colleague and I will miss him very much.

“I went to see him a few weeks ago and he was, as always, very encouraging and helpful.

“He was always on the other end of a phone with sound advice.

“I have known Mike for more than 16 years so he was very much part of my life.”

Redcar and Cleveland Mayor, Councillor Billy Wells, added: “I have known Mike since 1981 when we both worked in the Post Office.

“He was a very principled man and an inspiration to all who knew him. His reputation will be his legacy.

“A born leader, always fair minded and selfless.

“Mike will be sadly missed, our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”