A Long-serving Redcar and Cleveland Borough Councillor has died aged 66.

Independent councillor Bruce Mackenzie, who represented the Westworth ward, died peacefully on Tuesday.

His death came as a shock but he had been suffering from illnesses over a long period of time.

Close colleague Councillor Steve Kay, leader of the council's Independent Group, described him as an "irreplaceable friend and colleague".

He said: "I shall miss him greatly, as shall the villages and towns of east Cleveland.

"Bruce achieved much for the villages of east Cleveland, but by persuasion and persistence, rather than by shouting and arguing.

"Local people and councillors will remember Bruce for his generosity of spirit and, above all, for the fact that he was always a gentleman."

His funeral will take place at St Aidan's Church, Boosbeck, next Thursday, at 10.15am.

Councillor Mackenzie, who lived at Lingdale, was first elected to the council in 1995, serving the Lockwood and Skinningrove ward.

He retained his place on the council in the 2003 election, with a seat in the Westworth ward, created after boundary changes, and was chairman of the council's development scrutiny committee.

Councillor Mackenzie, who had three daughters and five grandchildren, was a retired nurse.

He had worked as a general nurse and psychiatric nurse at the former St Lukes Hospital, in Middlesbrough.