long-serving Independent councillor Bruce Mackenzie has died, aged 66.

The Westworth ward councillor died peacefully on Tuesday. His funeral will take place at St Aidan's Church, Boosbeck, next Thursday at 10.15am.

Coun Mackenzie, of Lingdale, was first elected to the council in 1995, serving the Lockwood/ Skinningrove ward.

He retained his place 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.

Coun Mackenzie, a father of three daughters and grandfather of five, was a retired nurse, who had worked as a general nurse and psychiatric nurse at the former St Luke's Hospital.

Close colleague Coun Steve Kay, leader of the council's Independent Group, said: "Bruce Mackenzie was my irreplaceable friend and colleague. 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."