THATCHAM town councillors have paid tribute to “hard working”, “energetic” and “thoroughly decent” colleague Roger Croft.
Mr Croft died on Friday from injuries sustained in a car crash in February which also claimed the life of his wife Zelda.
Mr Croft was elected to represent Thatcham South and Crookham ward at West Berkshire Council and Thatcham Town Council in 2011; rising to become leader of the district council in 2015.
A minute’s silence was also held for Mr Croft at the full town council meeting last Monday, while the Union flag flew at half mast at the town council’s offices as a mark of respect.
The mayor of Thatcham, Ellen Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central), said: “This is a double tragedy for the Croft family and my thoughts and prayers are with them all.
“I was lucky enough to know Roger and Zelda as friends and I was privileged to have worked with Roger at Thatcham Town Council.
“He was a talented man and an inspirational leader.
“He was well-respected within the town and was very hard-working, both as a district and a town councillor.
“Thatcham was his home and he always did what he felt was best for the town.
“He will be sadly missed by us all.”
Mr and Mrs Croft had lived in Thatcham for nearly 30 years.
Mr Croft had been involved with several local groups, as president of Newbury and District Swimming Club, a trustee of the Thatcham Pre-School charity and a member of the Thatcham Flood Forum.
Dominic Boeck (Con, Thatcham South and Crookham) said that Mr Croft had been a family friend and that their children had grown up together.
Mr Boeck said: “He will be sorely missed for his hard work and energy, his innovative, clear-eyed strategic thinking and his friendship will be sorely missed.”
Town council leader Jason Collis (Con, Thatcham North) said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time and we wish them the best in this difficult situation.”
Before becoming the leader of the district council, Mr Croft sat on the town council’s finance and Priory committee.
He was critical of the Liberal Democrat project to convert the Priory into a community hub, labelling the scheme a waste of Thatcham taxpayers’ money, often leading to clashes in the council chamber with the Lib Dems.
Paying tribute to Mr Croft on Monday, the town council’s Lib Dem opposition leader Mike Cole (Thatcham North) said: “We are all saddened and we are all shocked by Roger’s death.
“He was a man of considerable energy and our community was fortunate that he was willing to apply this energy to Thatcham and West Berkshire.
“He was a straightforward guy. He was straight-talking and the best thing I can say about him was he was a thoroughly decent bloke and we will all miss him.”
Council staff also paid tribute, saying “Roger will be greatly missed by all the officers at Thatcham Town Council.”