A FORMER long-serving member of North Yorkshire County Council and a prominent worker in the Ryedale community has died at the age of 85.

Geoff Rennie served as a Conservative member of the council for 15 years, representing the Sheriff Hutton and Hovingham division, until he stepped down in 2005. He was also a former chairman of the authority.

Born in West Yorkshire, the son of a Leeds headmaster, he attended the University of Leeds where he obtained a degree in agriculture before joining the Government’s Ministry of Agriculture science unit at High Mowthorpe, Malton.

He spent all his working life in the agricultural industry with Fisons, the fertiliser company and later Kenneth Wilson Ltd, the seed merchants.

Mr Rennie, who lived at Huttons Ambo, where he was a parish councillor, held many county-wide positions, including being chairman of the York and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority for 10 years.

He also recently retired as a governor of the Yorkshire and Scarborough NHS Trust, and of Rural Action Yorkshire.

He was also a foundation governor of Malton School, and a governor of the village primary schools at Welburn and Foston and was a past chairman of the Malton and Norton Business Partnership and of the Ryedale Cameras in Action group, which promoted the provision and running of security cameras in market towns in the district.

Mr Rennie’s many roles in Ryedale’s public life included being chairman of Amotherby Young Farmers’ Club and being a keen supporter of Malton Show.

His public service was recognised when he was awarded the MBE in 2008.

County Coun Mike Knaggs, of Malton, who worked alongside Mr Rennie for many years, said: “He was a real gentleman, much respected in the farming world and in his public life as a councillor.”

Mr Rennie’s wife, Anne, died in 1997, and his partner, Honorary Alderman Daphne Stead, a former Ryedale District Council member and past chairman, said: “We had 13 very happy years together. Geoff was highly regarded in the Ryedale community and will be greatly missed.”

He also leaves three sons, Keith, Nigel and Jeremy, and seven grandchildren.

His funeral is to be private but a public service of thanksgiving was held at St Peter’s Parish Church, Norton, on Monday, where donations were given in his memory to the British Heart Foundation.