FRIENDS and colleagues of a popular Richmond councillor have expressed shock and sadness at his sudden death.

Cllr John Robinson, 63, who served on both Richmond Town Council and Richmondshire District Council for the Richmond central ward, died on Wednesday, January 20.

Fellow Liberal Democrat district councillor and Richmond Mayor Cllr Clive World said he has been left devastated by the news.

He said: “John was a friend and a colleague – we worked well as a team.

“I really couldn’t believe it when I heard the news on Wednesday morning and my deepest sympathies go to his wife Kate, two sons, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

“He was a committed councillor, being on the town council for 13 years and acting as mayor in 2007, and on the district council for around nine years.

“He was a great person to work with in central ward – he was very thorough. Someone said to me they didn’t know of anyone with a bad word to say about him. He will be really missed.”

Cllr Robinson, originally from Sunderland, had served as a fireman for 32 years at Richmond Fire Station.

He was chairman of several district council committees, and was actively involved in local voluntary and charitable groups, including Richmond Duck Club, Richmond Rotary Club, as well as being a fellmonger and trustee for The Thompson Charity.

His nominated charities as chairman of the district council were Richmondshire Community Voluntary Action, St Mary’s Church Bell Fund and St Teresa’s Hospice.

Cllr World added: “He had a passion for old cars and vehicles and was enjoying acting as chairman of the district council.

“His family were very supportive of his council duties – it is a job that can’t be done without the backing of your family because it is so time consuming and John put in many hours to helping and fighting for local residents.”

David Jeffels, chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “The sudden death of John Robinson has come as a great shock and the county council sends its deepest sympathy to his wife, Kate, and all the family.

“John was a much respected and hard working member of the Richmond community who will be greatly missed.

“The council and the district is certainly much the poorer for his passing."

The flag at the district council’s Mercury House headquarters will fly at half-mast until sunset on the day of his funeral, which is yet to be announced.